Now and then: government shutdown

With the government possibly about to shut down and Newt Gingrich back on the national stage, it feels a little like we’re back in the nineties, though the sweet sounds of Boyz II Men are no longer playing on the radio to comfort us through the long cold nights. Looking at the polls from then and now, some of the numbers are similar. But the context has changed, and President Obama seems likely to fare less well than Bill Clinton did fifteen years ago.

In 1995, the week before the government shutdown on November 14, President Bill Clinton had a 52 percent approval rating. By the time the shutdown ended on January 6, he had dipped to 42 percent, but it was a transient affair, and two weeks later his number was back at 52.

Obama, on the other hand, would head into a government shutdown with lower numbers — his approval rating stands at 45 percent according to a Gallup poll released Thursday.

The public’s level of cynicism has not changed in fifteen years.

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