Jackie Gingrich Cushman

It also found a big difference in enthusiasm between the parties: "42 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents currently say they are more enthusiastic than usual about voting, while 50 percent are less enthusiastic, resulting in an eight-point enthusiasm deficit." Democrats are less enthusiastic; only 32 percent are more enthusiastic about voting vs. 55 percent who are less enthusiastic.

Of course, elections are determined not by polls or opinions, but by counting the votes of those who bothered to go to the polls. Turnout is key, especially in an off-year election.

"Typically, the party whose supporters have an advantage in enthusiasm has done better in midterm elections," noted Gallup. "Republicans had decided advantages in enthusiasm in 1994, 2002 and especially 2010 -- years in which they won control of the House of Representatives or expanded on their existing majority. Democrats had the advantage in 2006, the year they won control of the House. Neither party had a decided advantage in 1998, a year Democrats posted minimal gains in House seats."

In hotly contested primaries such as Georgia, negative ads often have a way of making their way to the forefront, especially in the final days of the primary when candidates and their staffs may become desperate to make it into the run-off. The challenge with negative ads is that they might lead some prospective voters to decide not to vote at all. While this might be a plan to win -- voter suppression never works for a democracy in the long run.

Elections should be won by candidates who offer a better path and vision to a brighter future, who engage and energize voters rather than repel them.

This year, the midterm elections will be about turnout. Let's drive turnout based on voter enthusiasm.


Jackie Gingrich Cushman

Jackie Gingrich Cushman is a speaker, syndicated columnist, socialpreneur, and author of "The Essential American: 25 Documents and Speeches Every American Should Own," and co-author of “The 5 Principles for a Successful Life: From Our Family to Yours”.