Here comes the onslaught 

Street Smarts

Between now and November, it's going to be pretty hard to avoid political ads. Even if you turn off the TV, the radio and the Internet, you'll see billboards, yard signs and probably get phone calls and snail mail.

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William Heil from the southwest side is retired

How much attention are you paying to politics right now? A lot, because our country is in deep doo-doo. At one time, we were the greatest nation this world has ever seen. In the last four years, it's like we've become a Banana republic.

Why do you think there are so many negative ads? Negative campaigning is very effective, and there's a lot at stake. There was a time when people used to run for office because they were dedicated people. Now they run for office for the power.

For you, what are the most important issues? All of them; there are tremendous issues today. Not just domestic affairs, but the way the rest of the world views us.

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Marge Hopley from the east side is a physical therapist

Do you think political ads have gotten more negative over the years? Yes. That was one of the reasons I liked Rick Santorum, because he wasn't being negative.

Why do you think negative campaigns are so popular? Well, I'm not sure. It would make more sense for the candidates to present their own ideas and goals, and explain how to get there.

What's your image of a successful politician? Someone who is personable and down-to-earth, and can feel what the people care about. Too many of them are out of touch with the real world.

Are state and local politics important to you? Yes, very much. They take the taxes we pay and decide where the money is going. But they're out of touch, too. They keep cutting programs that are important to people, like help for the disabled, keeping our parks up, and after-school programs for kids.

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Alec Rail from the central area is a casino dealer

How much attention do you pay to politics? Very little. Most of what the politicians are saying is ridiculous.

Do you think campaigns are getting more negative? No, it seems like there have always been negative campaigns. The candidate I liked has no chance, but at least Ron Paul got to the point and talked about our Constitution and our liberties.

How important are state and local politics to you? Very important. Our state and local government should be working for us, and there should be a bigger separation between the federal government and the state government.

Why do so many candidates resort to running negative ads? It's psychological behavior. Like when teenagers talk bad about someone else ...


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