Surface hybridization, in which nucleic acids from solution bind to complementary "probe" strands immobilized on a solid support, is widely used to analyze composition of nucleic acid mixtures. Most often, detection is accomplished with fluorescent techniques whose sensitivity can be extended down to individual molecules. Applications, however, benefit as much if not more from convenience, accuracy, and affordability of the diagnostic test. By eliminating the need for fluorescent labeling and more complex sample workup, label-free electrochemical assays have significant advantages provided transduction remains sufficiently sensitive for applications. To this end, we have been exploring morpholinos, which are uncharged DNA analogues, as the immobilized probe species in surface hybridization assays based on measurement of interfacial capacitance. Through comparison of experimental trends with those predicted from basic physical models, the origins of diagnostic contrast in capacitive sensing are reviewed for assays based on morpholino as well as on DNA probes.