Unfortunately, the vox populi resonated loud and clear, yet again: "Please lie to me."
True to their craft, the candidates have rushed to give the people what they've said they wanted. Just listen for yourself. Here's the latest sound bite from the voice of the people when asked who they blame for the sad state of the U.S. economy and who they trust to fix it (according to the latest survey by CNN/Opinion Research Corp. pollsters).
The people blame Republicans in Congress most for today's economic woes: 41 percent of adult Americans said Republicans in Congress "responsible for the country's current economic problems," while just 35 percent blamed Democrats in Congress.
But the people then say they most trust the Republicans in Congress to fix today's economic woes: 47 percent said Republicans in Congress are more likely to improve the economy; while just 41 percent said Democrats in Congress are more likely to improve the economy.
Please do not adjust your dials. That's precisely what the American people are saying telling the pollsters. And they are saying it because they really believe it.
Here's why they believe: Because Republicans offer them what sounds like a painless prosperity. The people heard Republicans' recite their Campaign 2010 "Pledge to America" - and it sounded like sweet mantra to their ears. What's not to like? Everybody gets to keep getting tax cuts and the federal deficit will somehow go down. Details, shmetails! Don't worry your head about the details now, we'll tell you once we get back into control of Congress.
Republicans learned long ago that if they give the people details of what must be cut to keep taxes going up and the deficit going down, they will only make new enemies out of those who want to be trusting friends.
So they indulge in the politics of lying by withholding the rest of the truth - the part about the cuts you will have to make in their favorite government services, subsidies, benefits, and of course those earmarked public necessities (which are in your congressional district), and are not to be confused with bad earmarked boondoggles (which are in someone else's district).
Republicans just declare themselves proud, pay-as-you-go Republicans, recite their Pledge - and say nothing more.
Telling lies and half-truths is hardly a new political master plan. In the 1960s, President Lyndon Johnson assured America that we can afford what became known as "guns and butter" - we could spend to fight the Vietnam War and still pay for the Great Society domestic programs he championed. Richard Nixon campaigned for president promising America that he had a secret plan to end the Vietnam War; but he had no such plan.
Ronald Reagan assured Americans we could sharply increase defense spending, cut taxes, cut government and balance the budget - but the deficit soared and the government grew.
Yet when people reflect upon the Reagan presidency, in their mind's eye they see a leader who made us proud of our country and our presidency.
Fast forward: Today, all polls say one issue concerns Americans far more than any other - unemployment. Americans may blame Republicans for policies that led us into this economic mess, and may even believe President Obama stimulated the economy enough to end the downward spiral. But America is wallowing in a jobless recovery and everyone seems to feel it and fear it.
And when people think about the Obama presidency, they do not see that he has been leading a fight to create jobs. Nor do they see any image in their mind's eye of Obama as a jobs president. Instead, they see his historic health plan but then hear Republicans blame it for future deficits and bad outcomes.
Substantively and symbolically, Obama, the great campaign communicator and an intellectual president, has failed to create a plan, let alone communicate a mastery, of the issue that concerns Americans the most.
Which is why people today are willing to roll their dice and vote once more for the party they blame for today's mess.
Martin Schram writes political analysis for Scripps Howard News Service.