Deliver us from mudslinging

It’s the home stretch for the midterm elections – time to put the pedal to the metal and really hit home on the major issues that the American people care about: the economy and jobs.

Only… not so much.

This past few days have brought us: 

To borrow a phrase from Saturday Night Live… REALLY?

In their October 2-4 survey, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner (a Democratic-affiliated polling firm) discovered that respondents believed Republicans would do a better job on the economy, taxes, government spending, and the federal budget deficit.

Yet many Republicans seem bound and determined to drop the ball near the end zone (maybe they’re trying to emulate last weekend’s Alabama game?) by talking about everything but the main issue. Making judgment calls like that, it’s little wonder that the American people have more trust in themselves than they do in politicians!

So it’s time for some straight talk. There’s no need to resort to this kind of nonsenseRepublican voters are energized – far more than Democratic voters, as Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight points out. Accordingly, there’s not a whole lot that can be gained by moving into social issue territory, despite the insistence of some conservatives.

Republicans need Independent voters to put them over the top (mathematically speaking, this is pretty obvious; 2008 exit poll data indicates that Republicans comprised only 32% of the electorate, while Democrats were 39% and Independents were 29%.) Fortunately for Republicans, Independents are currently leaning towards the GOP – but a lot can happen in three weeks. To minimize the chance of losing these swing voters, Republicans would be best served staying on solid ground where voters trust them – the economy – and staying away from mudslinging, which distracts from their main message.

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