October 27th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Do you have faith that elections are honest?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We should all know the drill by now:

If it's election time, then it's time for accusations of fraud and voting irregularities. And, with six days yet to go until the midterms, we cite the following:

In Nevada, there are reports in some counties that voting machines are automatically checking Harry Reid's name on the ballot.

It's worth pointing out that the voting machine technicians in one of these counties are members of the Service Employees International Union - a group that's planning to give tens of millions of dollars in this election, most of it to Democrats. Harry Reid is a democrat.

  • In North Carolina - a voter says he tried to vote a straight Republican ticket… but his choices showed up as Democrat. Four times.
  • In Illinois, it's the first election where any registered voter can cast their ballot by mail. But one official says that as many as hundreds of thousands of voters who are planning to get a ballot in the mail could be disenfranchised.
  • Also in Illinois, 36 counties missed the deadline to send ballots overseas - to members of the military and other voters.
  • In Pennsylvania, some residents along with a county Republican committee claim a Democratic congressman is trying to flood the voter registration office with fraudulent applications for absentee ballots.
  • And then there's Florida, without which no election drama would be complete. The Daytona Beach city commissioner and his campaign manager were just arrested and charged with committing absentee ballot fraud.

And the election is still almost a week away.

Here’s my question to you: How much faith do you have that our elections are honest?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: 2010 Election • Election Funding • Election Process • Elections
October 18th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

How much do attack ads damage our faith in our leaders?


People cast their votes at a polling station set up at the Miami-Dade Government Center. Florida residents headed to the polls to cast votes on the first day of early voting in the midterm elections. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Political campaigns are a brutal sport - but this season's attack ads seem to be nastier than ever.

Politico reports that while candidates have always attacked each other, distorted their opponents' records and taken their statements out of context... this year's "napalm-flavored" attack ads take it to a whole new level.

Some of this year's ads suggest that the politicians running for office aren't just untrustworthy or inexperienced, they are cruel and sick individuals.

For example: Campaign ads accuse candidates of wanting to gas shelter animals, of wanting to inject young girls with dangerous drugs, of letting men beat their wives... and of helping child molesters - either by buying them Viagra or protecting their privacy.

A lot of these ads are coming from incumbents who are worried that they're on their way out in November. They seem to think that by turning their challengers into monsters, they have a chance of winning.

One of the most notorious ads of the campaign season is by a Florida Democrat who calls his challenger "Taliban Dan."

While some of these over-the-top attack ads contain some level of truth, experts suggest that at a certain point they become counterproductive. They say voters tend to believe the worst about politicians, but when attacks become too outrageous, they stop buying it.

Meanwhile, the people running these ads want to be - or already are - our leaders in Washington. And it says a lot about the kind of people representing us that they're willing to resort to such a low level of rhetoric in order to win.

Here’s my question to you: How much do attack ads damage our faith in our leaders?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • Polls
October 13th, 2010
04:02 PM ET

Would you support N.J. Governor Christie for president?


Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey is pictured at a campaign event for California Republican Party gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman last month. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

We're talking rare here - like monsoons in the Sahara Desert, one-eyed snakes, Blitzer beardless.

We're talking about a politician who gets elected by telling the voters one thing ... and then, when he gets into office, doing that exact same thing. This almost never happens.

And in the process, New Jersey's Republican Gov. Chris Christie is putting the lie to the traditional idea that political success must be accompanied by squandering the taxpayers' money on all manner of foolishness and extravagance.

In fact, this guy is now being talked about more and more as possible presidential material.

Christie was elected governor of New Jersey with marching orders to stop spending money. And lo and behold, that's what he's doing.

For example, just last week, he pulled the plug on the largest public transit project in the country, a commuter tunnel running under the Hudson River into Manhattan. Christie said New Jersey couldn't afford its share of the cost overruns. Imagine that.

Christie has also taken on the teachers' and public workers' unions and their expensive contracts. And he's dramatically slashed spending, including for education and aid to towns and cities.

In all, Christie closed a more than $2 billion budget deficit last year and an $11 billion budget deficit this year.

Of course, it's totally ruffling the feathers of the status quo, the "you scratch my back with the taxpayers' back scratcher" crowd, who is used to their politicians handing over the public's money in exchange for their support. And that's just a wonderful thing.

Imagine what a guy like this could do in Washington, where Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid can't even be bothered to get a budget passed, let alone exercise any fiscal restraint. The possibilities seem breathtaking.

Of course, it will be a little tough to convert to socialism if the government money well dries up. But then, that's the point, isn't it?

Here’s my question to you: Would you support New Jersey Governor Chris Christie if he ran for president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections
October 7th, 2010
06:00 PM ET

Why are more people voting in the midterms?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If the primaries are any indication - these midterm elections might set records when it comes to voter turnout.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/09/art.voting.jpg caption=""]
USA Today reports that the number of voters casting early ballots in the primaries this year was up 50 percent over the 2006 midterms. That's a huge increase. About six million people took part in early voting in the 13 states they reviewed.

This increase in early voting is a game-changer. It forces campaigns and interest groups to alter their tactics as they reach out to voters ahead of November's election.

Although the midterms are still more than three weeks away, early or absentee voting is already underway in 10 states. And, early voting will kick off in another 17 states plus the District of Columbia in the next two weeks.

Experts say, for campaigns an early vote for you is like money in the bank. But an early vote against you is a lost vote that no TV ads or speech can change.

Others point to a trend where early voters tend to hold back and file their ballot closer to election day. That's because they haven't made up their minds as quickly as they do about presidential candidates.

Midterms are notorious for lack of voter interest and low turnout, but if the electorate is really as angry as we keep hearing, things may be different this time.

If people want their voices heard when it comes to the state of our economy, the skyrocketing and unsustainable deficits, taxes, war, health care, etc... they better turn out on November 2.

Here’s my question to you: Why are so many more people voting in these midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections
October 6th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Would promise to undo health care get you to vote for a Republican?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Much like the Democrats themselves, President Obama's signature issue of health care reform might get quite a beating in the midterm elections.
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For starters, three states will vote on proposed constitutional amendments that would let them opt out of key provisions in the health care law.

Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma are all hoping to follow the lead of Missouri - which has already passed a similar initiative with a whopping 71 percent of the vote.

The idea of these measures is to ban the federal government from forcing people to buy health insurance.

Supporters say it's unconstitutional. Whether it is or not, there is a lot of opposition to this law which was cobbled together out of public view, contains no public option, and so far hasn't done a single thing to bring down health care costs.

A lot of Republicans are latching on to the discontent over this issue; pledging to repeal the health care law if they win control of Congress.

Democrats who voted against the bill are also making sure their constituents know it, and a lot of those who voted for the bill are keeping quiet.

It's unlikely Republicans will be able to repeal the measure while President Obama is still in office. And it's unclear if moderate Republicans and Independents will support efforts to undo the law.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows 47 percent of those surveyed want Congress to repeal and replace the health care law; and fewer than one in five think the law will personally help them or their families.

Here’s my question to you: Would a promise to undo health care reform be enough to get you to vote for a Republican?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • GOP • Health care • Republican Party • Republicans
October 5th, 2010
05:00 PM ET

Better for candidate to stay off campaign trail or risk a mistake?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's being called the "year of the missing candidate."

Politico reports how with only a month to go before the midterms, candidates in some key statewide races are missing in action on the campaign trail.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/05/art.odonnell.jpg caption="Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell at the Values Voter Summit on September 17."]
They're skipping debates, ducking out on public events, refusing to publicize the ones they hold and opting out of national television interviews all together.

This includes everyone from newcomers like Christine O'Donnell in Delaware and Rand Paul in Kentucky to incumbents like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid or Texas Governor Rick Perry.

The reason why: these candidates are worried that if they do step out in public, they'll do or say something stupid that will come back to haunt them.

They're gambling that in the long run it's better to get some bad press for staying away from the campaign trail than to be caught on tape in some "gotcha" moment.

Political observers are stunned at the lengths to which some candidates are going, like refusing to release public schedules to local reporters or running away from cameras and shouted questions. Some wonder if going forward, candidates in state races will be as tightly guarded as presidential candidates.

Then again - you can't totally blame these politicians when you take into account the rise of what's called the "tracker culture." Opponents send staffers with camcorders to their events to record every single word a candidate utters. Make a mistake and you turn up in your opponent's campaign ad to be seen over and over again.

Here’s my question to you: Is it better for a candidate to stay off the campaign trail or risk making a mistake?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections • Polls
October 4th, 2010
05:54 PM ET

Would you like to see Donald Trump run for president?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Could real estate magnate Donald Trump have his eye on the White House?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/10/04/art.trump.jpg caption=""]
Time magazine has quite a scoop: New Hampshire voters were polled on their feelings about Trump and 2012. The mysterious poll's callers asked people about several potential Republican candidates and matchups. It included about 30 questions on Trump.

Voters were reportedly asked if they had heard that Trump had donated to Democrats in the past and if they thought his appearances on TV would help or hurt in a political race. Time doesn't know who paid for the poll.

Trump tells CNN he's never heard of this poll but is "anxious to find out what it says." He says he didn't commission it, nor does he know who did.

Trump goes on to say that he really likes the people of New Hampshire because they're "strong and intelligent people" and they know what's happening in the U.S. is wrong. Sounds kinda like a politician, doesn't he?

Trump insists he's not considering a run, but he adds that "somebody has to do something or this country is not going to be a very great country for long."

Experts point out that the Republican field in 2012 is wide open, with no clear frontrunner. They say if Trump simply made a couple of trips to New Hampshire and ran some ads, he could become a player pretty quickly.

Just last month, Trump was in the CNN Situation Room talking about how President Obama is in trouble. He said he doesn't know if Obama can win re-election, and that he's never seen the current levels of animosity toward our government.

Here’s my question to you: Would you like to see Donald Trump run for president?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections
September 30th, 2010
04:30 PM ET

Most important issue to you in midterm elections?



FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's no secret the American people are fed up with Washington, the politicians who make a living there on our tax dollars, and their inability to act on the issues that really matter.

Only three in 10 Americans say things are going well in the country today - according to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation Poll.

And you can bet, when these disillusioned voters cast their ballots for the midterm elections, they'll have many issues weighing on their minds.

This same poll shows 49 percent of those surveyed say the economy remains the top problem facing the country.

That's followed by 11 percent who say the deficit, 10 percent who say education, and nine percent who say Health Care and the Wars.

Other issues lower down on the list include: Illegal Immigration, Terrorism and Energy.

When asked what the most important economic problem is, people overwhelmingly say unemployment. No surprise there, with a national unemployment rate hovering just below 10 percent.

Other economic issues people worry about include Taxes, Housing, the Stock Market and Inflation.

These midterm elections are shaping up into some very interesting contests. With the anti-incumbent mood at record levels, people seem to be looking for something - anything - different... which has translated into big victories for the Tea Party.

Many Americans are unhappy with President Obama's policies, which could mean big losses for the Democrats. You don't need to look any further than the president's signature issue of Health Care.

Fewer than one in five Americans say the new health care reform law will help them personally; and almost half of the country wants Congress to repeal most of the major provisions.

Here’s my question to you: What issue is most important to you in the midterm elections?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections
September 29th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

Why would you vote for any incumbent?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It's no wonder the Tea Party has the traction it does.

House Democrats voted Wednesday to adjourn so they can go home and campaign for the midterm elections. There is no budget, there is no decision on what to do about the Bush tax cuts that expire January 1. There is no willingness to confront any of the pressing issues they are paid to deal with.
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/06/09/art.voting.jpg caption=""]
You see, our lawmakers are cowards. They don't want to have to vote before an election. Could be bad for them. To hell with the American people. At the end of the day it's all about them.

They're getting ready to leave town - again - and won't be back for five weeks.

Before heading out, the House is expected to vote on a measure to keep the federal government operating through December 3. That's necessary because they never bothered to pass a budget.

Here's the problem: Large majorities of Americans disapprove of Congress and only one in four people trust the federal government to do what is right always or most of the time. But when they enter the voting booth, they re-elect the same people over and over: the people who are taking this country right down the drain.

This year there are signs that the midterm elections might be particularly brutal for the party in power, the Democrats. Experts think the Republicans have a decent chance of picking up the 39 seats needed to take control of the House. The experts also say Republicans have an outside chance of gaining 10 seats to control the Senate.

Things are bad for the Democrats all over, but especially in the Midwest.

One Republican pollster says that part of the country will be a "killing field for Democrats this year."

Here’s my question to you: Why would you vote for any incumbent?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Election Process • Elections
September 28th, 2010
04:54 PM ET

Pres. Obama vs. Sarah Palin in 2012?


Supporters hold up signs during the DNC (L) and RNC (R) back in 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Sarah Palin could be President Obama's savior. When it comes to the 2012 presidential race, a new poll suggests that Obama could lose - unless he's running against Palin.

The Politico/George Washington University Battleground Poll shows that a majority of Americans are considering voting against Obama. Forty-four percent of those surveyed say they will vote to replace Obama, and 13 percent say they'll consider voting for someone else. Only 38 percent say he deserves re-election.

Voters are down on the president for lots of reasons, but especially his policies. By double digits, they disapprove of his new health care law, and they trust congressional Republicans to create jobs more than Obama. This is despite the fact that a majority of voters like him personally.

Obama's best hope of winning a second term just may be Alaska's dropout governor, Palin. If the election were held today, voters say, they would back the president over Palin by a 9-point margin.

Support for Palin is weak in the Midwest and the Northeast ... and almost 60 percent of voters say her actions since since resigning as governor have made them less likely to vote for her for president.

Female voters are especially negative about Palin. Fifty-four percent have an unfavorable view of her. No other Republicans tested in this poll had such high negatives among women.

It's not likely the Republicans would be dumb enough to nominate Palin after what she did to John McCain's run for the White House, but when it comes to politics, nothing should surprise us anymore. And if it happened, well, just imagine if the woman who helped bring down McCain's campaign would help re-elect the Democratic sitting president.

Here’s my question to you: If President Obama runs against Sarah Palin in 2012, who would you vote for?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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