Public Affairs: Soap Box - Iain Anderson, director, Cicero Group

Elections are ultimately about communication, and in 2010 the Democratic Party experienced a failure to communicate across the board.

Taxes in the US are currently at their lowest level since the Reagan years.

Yet surveys consistently show that the American population believes the Obama administration has significantly raised taxes.

'Obamacare' will shave more than $100bn off the deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Yet polling indicates that the public believes Obamacare will raise the deficit.

Again and again, public perception has become detached from realities.

The failure to communicate is therefore a key factor in explaining the recent electoral defeat. Additionally, Republicans have shown themselves uniquely capable at distilling a myriad competing narratives and concepts into one short, 30-second commercial.

Perhaps the most widely known, although by no means the most widely seen, example was the 'Chinese Professor' commercial funded by Republican groups. Neatly synergising concerns about the deficit, the direction of the American economy and foreign policy, the ad portrays a future world in which America, like great powers before it, has turned her back on the principles that made her great.

This ad would still be slick, but less remarkable, were it not for the fact that China featured in numerous campaigns on both sides of the US political divide. Democrat Lee Fisher's campaign in Ohio portrayed his opponent as a tool of Beijing, replete with images of Chinese workers. Shipping jobs overseas was a Democratic mantra against the Republicans. However, it seems that the Republicans were able to strike a greater resonance with the American people in their portrayal of the same threat.

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