You are using an outdated browser.
Please upgrade your browser
and improve your visit to our site.
Skip Navigation

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.