David Mayhew’s Divided We Govern significantly challenged the conventional wisdom of the adversarial effect of divided government on government effectiveness in the United States. While the post-Mayhewian literature has been centred on legislative productivity as a measure of gridlock, gridlock is here defined as an ‘inability to change policy’. In this study, the preferences of the legislators, such as the filibuster, override and House median veto players are plotted in Euclidean space. The analysis focuses on the influence of the area of the winset, which is an intersection overlapped by the veto players’ indifference curves. There is a substantial impact of the area of the winset on the change in policy output point, which is measured by the ADA scores and by Poole’s Mean Winning Coordinate. Yet divided government has marginal or no effect on policy swing. The conclusion is that the preferences of veto players, but not party control of the government, have a substantial impact on gridlock in the United States.