POLITICS OCTOBER 8, 2013
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.