AOL users blame Democrats by small margin for government shutdown, according to flash poll

Budget Battle
Budget Battle

At midnight on Tuesday after the Senate and House were unable to agree on a temporary funding bill to keep the government running, the nation was plunged into its first government shutdown in 17 years. Who's to blame for the mess?

We asked users to chime in on on Monday as the midnight shutdown deadline approached to tell us who was more at fault for the political impasse: Democrats or Republicans. All told, 33,793 people participated in the unscientific poll and the results were nearly split down the middle, with 49 percent of respondents indicating they blamed Republicans for the standoff, and 51 percent of respondents indicating they blamed Democrats.

Of course, other polls told different stories. One poll conducted by CNN and ORC International and released on Monday showed that 46 percent of Americans would blame congressional Republicans if a shutdown occurred, 36 percent of Americans would blame President Obama and 13 percent would blame both. A whopping 69 percent of respondents indicated that Republicans were acting like 'spoiled children' in the budget battle, but many found fault with Democrats, too, as 58 percent said President Obama and congressional Democrats were acting like spoiled children.

Opinion polls aside, now that the shutdown is in effect, what remains to be seen is who will emerge as the winners and losers in this epic battle. Will it be President Obama and congressional Democrats? Or will it be House Speaker John Boehner and congressional Republicans? Perhaps will it be the right wing members of the Republican Party, like Texas Senator Ted Cruz. What, if anything, do the American people stand to gain from the stalemate?

Tell us in the comments below. And to vote in our Tuesday poll about how the shutdown impacts you personally, click here to head back to and weigh in.