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Negative Political Advertising – Does It Work?

From Talking Politics:

Of the onslaught of political advertising that ran in the 2012 presidential election, a surprising 70 percent was negative.

Even though voters overwhelmingly claim that they dislike how ugly American campaigns have become, negative ads remain a constant component in every political campaign. The longstanding question is whether these attack ads are effective.

Some people believe that negative ads turn voters off, which influences them to tune out and stay home. It would be unfortunate if exposure to negative campaigns bred widespread cynicism and antipathy toward politics and a decline in political efficacy.

Other people believe that negative ads may have a positive effect on voter turnout. This belief stems from the idea that negative advertising is more informative and memorable than positive advertising. Voters are inspired to seek out more information about issues that negative ads touch on. By facilitating candidate image differentiation and attitude polarization, negative ads may help voters feel more confident about their voting decisions and consequently intensify their involvement with politics.

Read the rest at Talking Politics.

Posted on May 7, 2013 in