The big takeaway is that blame is not shared equally: “Governors are subjected to an electoral penalty only under unified government, while legislatures are always held accountable.”
That is to say, if the budget process falls apart amidst divided government, the executive — in this case, President Obama — not only gets a pass from the voters, but may get a bit of a boost. It’s Congress that gets blamed. And not just one party or the other. Everyone in Congress. Which is what you see in the latest Post poll.
The researchers calculate that a budgetary breakdown under divided government reduces the chances that incumbent legislators from either party will get reelected, though it helps the governor’s party in the gubernatorial elections. That would suggest that a shutdown would be bad for everyone serving in Congress, but good for Obama.
That might not hold in this instance, of course. The fact that something is generally true does not mean it’s always true. But the belief that minority parties — and legislators in general — should fear a shutdown turns out to be based on a lot more data points than 1995. And, if the Post poll is right, it's holding true in 2013, too.