Especially if Americans were unemployed, or have seen their income fall. And hearing Ron Reagan giving a much different message that was about, "the country is in bad shape, we can do better and we must do better. But we need a change in leadership and together we can get America moving again." Which is much different from hearing that things are horrible and we are the problem and we must sacrifice or things are just going to get worse. Which might not of been the intended message of President Carter, but thats how it came out as.
What you got with Ron Reagan whether you liked him or not, was a vision. "This is what the situation is. This is what's not working and why its not working and this is what we can do together to fix the problems." Thats the type of campaigner and leader he was. He wasn't interested in destroying his opponents, just explaining why their ideas and policies aren't working and why his is better. Which is very different from Republicans and even a lot of Democrats today, who are so interested in winning and having and gaining power. That they never stop campaigning, for fear that if they do, they may lose whatever power they may have right now.
Politicians today, don't want to lose an opportunity to gain more power in the future. And with today's politics its more about not just winning, but destroying the other side and even compromising when there's divided government like now, compromise is considered weak. I've been blogging for a couple of years now, that for the Republican Party to ever be the Grand Ole Party again, they have to get back to Goldwater-Reagan politically. Not just on policy and not be the big government party they have become, with Neoconservatives now running the party, but politically as well. "That our best days are still ahead, that even though we disagree with the other side, we want to beat them politically, but not destroy them." And they still have a long way to go.