Most Read: Opinions

direct signup

Today’s Opinions poll

Would you use an app that tells you the partisan affiliation of products you're considering buying?

Submit
Next
Review your answers and share

Join a Discussion

Weekly schedule, past shows

The Insiders
Posted at 09:00 AM ET, 03/19/2012

How can we keep voters’ attention?

I have written about the GOP being off-message from time to time and that we Republicans need to focus on President Obama and the economy. The Insiders have recently talked about how politics is discouraging people by generally being in a rut and straying into social issues. I've always said that if the election in November is about the economy, then the Republicans will have a chance; if something else is on voters’ minds then Obama will win.

Well, maybe it's harder to keep voters’ attention than I thought, and perhaps it isn't all the candidates' fault that voter attention can wander.

Just for fun, if you use Google Insight to compare terms that have been googled in the United States over the past 30 days, “Seamus” (Romney's dog) has been googled as many times as “2012 deficit,” “US national debt,” and “US deficit” combined.  Searches for the term "contraceptives" outweigh the combined searches for "2012 deficit," "US national debt," and "US deficit" by about 24 percent.  And while the googled interest in contraceptives has been decreasing steadily since mid-last week, interest in Seamus the dog has been steadily rising, while searches for the debt or deficit have plateaued.

Really, more people made an affirmative effort to learn something via Google about Seamus the dog and his famous journey with the Romney clan 30 years ago (that is 210 years in dog years) than they did about America's deficit. Google isn't a poll, but it does offer insight into what is on people's minds and what is being talked about when pollsters and pundits aren't around.

The only person who could get satisfaction from this is Obama. His reelection campaign has to be about distraction and anything but the economy. He should be encouraged by these findings. For Republicans, there is a lesson here about how focused and disciplined we must be. Voters will always be interested in a good or bad, human or dog, interest story, but we need to do all we can to cut through the distractions. Laser-like focus on jobs, low growth, gas prices and the debt gives us a chance to win. Everything else contributes to the smoke screen that Obama needs to win.

By  |  09:00 AM ET, 03/19/2012

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company