04/08/2011 12:03 pm ET Updated Jun 07, 2011

Using "Mandate Gap" to Measure Fault in the Event of a Government Shutdown

According to the United States Election Project at George Mason University, 132,645,504 Americans turned out to vote in the 2008 election, representing 61.6 per cent of the eligible voting population. Voters casting presidential ballots handed Barack Obama a 53 to 45 per cent win over John McCain.

In 2010, 90,682,968 Americans voted, representing 40.9 per cent of the eligible population. Those voting for House members gave Republicans overall a 52 to 45 per cent win. (Of the 246 GOP winners on election day, 85 won with Tea Party endorsement.) Votes for Republican Senate candidates beat Democratic candidates 49 to 45 per cent.

In 2009, Rich Lowry, editor of the conservative National Review wrote: "Obama's mistake is governing as if he has a heroic mandate when he really has a modest one. This is his mandate gap."

In deciding who may be at fault for causing a government shutdown, it might be worthwhile to consider who is straining their "mandate gap" now.