Previewing 'Meet the Voters' -- Week One


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Polls, campaign memos and pundits aren’t even close to telling the whole story of this muddy midterm cycle and its frustrated electorate – which is why NBC News is hitting the road to talk to voters in their own neighborhoods about the things that matter to them this November.

Our “Meet the Voters” series will be swinging through the regions where the battle for the Senate and for the nation’s governorships is most pronounced. We’ve got lots of questions to pose to voters – and candidates – on our stops this week in Kansas, Iowa, and Wisconsin. (We’re heading to more battleground states next week, too.)

Could Kansas foreshadow a rise in more independent candidates for 2016 and beyond? In Iowa and Wisconsin, arguably the most polarized and organized states in the union, do swing voters even exist?

Is the GOP brand becoming too conservative, even for voters in red states? And is the Democratic Party’s brand just too much about Obama?

And what about the uneven economic recovery in rural America? It’s no accident that Democrats are struggling to defend the economic recovery in states that don't have that many thriving urban centers. We’ll be visiting a lot of states that fit that trend.

This just hasn't been an ordinary midterm election cycle, despite pundits in Washington desperately trying to categorize it historically. Voters seem to be searching for a way to punish one party without rewarding the other, and that’s putting major stress on America’s two party system. That’s why we have seen the GOP struggle to use the public's pessimism about Washington to their advantage.

Over the last decade, voters have swung back and forth between the parties, lashing out at the party in power.

But it hasn't produced the results they have been looking for.

That’s why, this cycle, it’s so important to have a more nuanced conversation with the voters in the most competitive battlegrounds in the country.

- NBC's Carrie Dann contributed