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One Graph Shows Why Democrats Shouldn't Celebrate the Shutdown Blame Game

Win McNamee/Getty Images News/Getty Images

My colleague Nate Cohn has a smart post up about the blame-game politics of the government shutdown. The short version: The Republicans are getting most of the blame. But they're getting a smaller share of it than they did in 1996. The numbers—via polling averages from the Clinton-vs.-Gingrich standoff of the 1990s and the current Obama-vs.-Boehner standoff—are pretty striking:

At left, the proportion of people who blame Democrats for the shutdown: It's bigger now than it was then. At right, the number who blame Republicans: It's smaller!

With all the talk about how John Boehner's blunderous perpetuation of the crisis might jeopardize the GOP's congressional majority, these numbers add a few additional grains to the mound of salt Nate has already thrown on the idea of a congressional upheaval. Consider this: In 1996, Bill Clinton's numbers were better than Obama's, the Republicans had absorbed more of the shutdown blame, the economy was much stronger, and the president was running a victorious re-election campaign. And his party still didn't manage to win back the House.