As for independents, those that will most likely decide the 2014 midterms, well over a majority (64 percent) view the federal government unfavorably.
This smaller government theme should focus on the same lines as Reagan: real stories of how well-meaning, but ineffectual government got in the way, combined with real success stories of how America works best when America is working. (Arthur Brooks, President of American Enterprise Institute, has been touting this theme, and has all the supporting data, but emotional connection is key.)
The other area of opportunity is in Nation Security/Foreign Affairs. Gallup released a poll Monday that showed "for the first time, more Americans think President Barack Obama is not respected by other world leaders than believe he is. Americans' opinions have shifted dramatically in the past year, after being relatively stable from 2010 to 2013. Fifty-three percent believe that Obama is not respected, versus 41 percent who believe he is respected by world leaders.
Independents have changed their opinion dramatically in the past year. Today, only 34 percent believe Obama is respected versus 57 percent who believe world leaders do not respect Obama. Again, Independents are particularly important when winning elections.
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor, (R - VA) took the opportunity last week in a speech at the Virginia Military Academy to not only contrast the Republican view regarding the importance of National Security versus Obama's, but also noted the importance of not becoming isolated, a focus of many of the more libertarian-leaning Republicans. "Many Americans, and politicians from both parties, want to believe the tide of war has receded ... however, we mustn't let ourselves be lulled into complacency again or forget the lessons of history."
The center of America wants a peace, but believes in peace through strength, not weakness.
Republican communication should focus first on connection and understanding, while translating policy to what it means to everyday Americans: a working America for Americans, smaller government and peace through strength.