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Are Negative Political Ads Effective?

News 2012/05/04 13:00:00
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Presidential campaigns are brutal enough without all the smearing, but alas, negative ads are an integral part of politics. But is it all that effective? It must be doing something, because according to the Wesleyan Media Project, negativity in campaign ads has skyrocketed this season. A new study shows nearly 70% of political ads this year have been negative, compared to 9.1% during the 2008 election -- an increase of more than 750%.

At the same time, the survey reveals funding from political action committees (PACs and SuperPACs) has gone up even more -- 1,100% over the last election season. SuperPACs, made infamous by comedian Stephen Colbert during his pseudo-candidacy last year, allow unlimited funding from anonymous contributors. That might explain the vast increase in negativity. On the other hand, it indicates that negative campaigning might not be as practical as it seems. What do you think? Do negative campaign ads do the job?


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Top Opinion

  • Tasine 2012/05/04 14:34:00
    No
    Tasine
    +14
    Depends on who they are directed to. Negative ads work exclusively for the left - their constituents religiously believe anything their party tells them even when it is a glaring lie. Most Republican voters don't need any ads to advise them how to vote. I will not watch anybody's ad. I see them as insults to my intelligence.

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  • readmylips 2012/11/06 01:43:44
    No
    readmylips
    Only if you don't know what is going on or you are too dumb to think for yourself.
  • Kurt 2012/08/11 12:14:16
    Yes
    Kurt
    Only if they hold water
  • Jabbo Jones 2012/05/19 08:07:31
    Yes
    Jabbo Jones
    Yes, they are effective because many people don't stop to 'Think'; they just accept on blind faith, especially if it's from a source that they like. I don't have a problem with negative ads, as I'm able to decifer how much truth is in each.
  • sherie 2012/05/19 01:35:26
    No
    sherie
    Not for me.....they tend to make me empathize with the "smearee" and want to disregard everything the trash talker says.I hate character assassining dirty campaigns.
  • Anthony Gosselin 2012/05/18 11:57:55
    No
    Anthony Gosselin
    I ignore them.
  • Mike J. Hirak 2012/05/15 20:57:44
    Yes
    Mike J. Hirak
    If you want to admit it or not, seeing that a presidential candidate is a racist or a drug addict doesn't make you want to vote for them
  • ajewole naomi 2012/05/15 20:14:26 (edited)
    Yes
    ajewole naomi
    Negative political advertising seems to have reached epidemic proportions, as usual, among the general public nationwide as well as the chattering media class.

    Negative campaigning may keep people away from the polls for three different reasons. First, negative advertising may discourage supporters of the candidate who is attacked, Attack advertising might distroy support for the opposition, just as advertising in general reinforces partisan preferences. For a supporter reacting to negative information, dropping out may be easier than switching to the attacker.

    It also makes the public free with both candidates. negative campaigning may diminish the power of civic duty and may undermine the legitimacy of the entire electoral proccess. Campaigns that generate more negative than positive messages may leave voters embittered toward the candidates and the rules of the game.
    ............Ajewole Naomi(caleb unversirty,imota, lagos)........................
  • Gi 2012/05/12 00:56:34
    No
    Gi
    The reflect the candidate that the ad purports to support . . . or at least the party that the candidate supposedly represents!
  • Selketskiss 2012/05/11 22:45:19
    No
    Selketskiss
    I believe nothing and no one,....LOL
  • Pamela 2012/05/11 19:48:36
    No
    Pamela
    Sometimes it does, but in most cases they seem to turn people off. I do think that people are sick and tired of all the adds
  • beach bum 2012/05/11 07:33:39
    No
    beach bum
    fcuk no
  • David 2012/05/10 18:59:28
    No
    David
    Most political ads are a joke and downright misleading and the negative ones turn people off. I believe it is OK to state accurate facts if they happen to be negative but ads that are negative just for the sake of character assassination are not effective and I just quit listening.
  • T 2012/05/09 21:36:44
    Yes
    T
    I hate that they are effective, but the evidence is there. They are effective, and that is why there are so many of them.
  • Alex DeGrazia 2012/05/09 18:33:14
    No
    Alex DeGrazia
    No
  • All American 2012/05/09 17:39:18 (edited)
    Yes
    All American
    It seems that dishing dirt pays. Can you dig it, man?
  • hobo 2012/05/09 17:25:04
    Yes
    hobo
    Yes...for exactly the same reason that news is filled with bad stuff.
    If it bleeds it leads.
  • martman 2012/05/09 08:26:19
    Yes
    martman
    +1
    Unfortunately, yes.
  • Michael 2012/05/09 05:00:21
    Yes
    Michael
    +2
    Totally effective at their purpose, which is to sour the electorate and make them not want to vote at all. That's the only way Repugnicans can win. That, and mass-disenfranchise voters from largely Democratic areas.
  • Pamela Michael 2012/05/11 19:42:11
    Pamela
    You wish!
  • Jen 2012/05/09 01:38:39
    No
    Jen
    +1
    I always assume its all lies! Or a twist on words. I just tune it out.
  • Bob DiN Jen 2012/05/09 16:30:53
    Bob DiN
    Don't blame you. This crap is waring thin. I'd rather hear about the issues and the solutions.
  • Badger 2012/05/08 23:33:35
    Yes
    Badger
    +1
    Because the vast majority of people (especially in the states) are to arrogant and lazy to do any actual leg work on their own about the facts. Instead they trust completely in media, party politicians, business moguls, and religious leaders, to feed them lies flavored to there taste.
  • Gangstersteve1993 2012/05/08 23:09:09
    No
    Gangstersteve1993
    +1
    I wouldn't vote for leaches like then
  • Brian 2012/05/08 22:32:39 (edited)
    No
    Brian
    +1
    Effective at derailing relevant discussion and enforcing negative feelings; not effective at changing minds or improving the country. Case in point: The responses to this question.
  • granny 2012/05/08 22:12:58
    No
    granny
    +1
    I would hope that most people would realize its all just part of the game thats what they do during campaigning..
  • Fef 2012/05/08 21:54:42
    Yes
    Fef
    +1
    Too bad Senator John McCain didn't use attack ads against Obama in 2008.

    Hillary and Obama used them to attack
  • Call me Mark willya? 2012/05/08 20:33:43
    Yes
    Call me Mark willya?
    +2
    Unfortunately, our society seems to be motivated more easily by negative emotions than by positive. Ask someone about what they like and they might get a little excited, ask them about something they hate and they will get VENOMOUS. It's a LOT easier to make people hate the other guy than it is to make them like you...
  • exhon2009 2012/05/08 19:36:58
    Yes
    exhon2009
    +1
    Stupid question SH News. Of course they work. That's why campaigns run them.
  • unaff 2012/05/08 19:27:55
    Yes
    unaff
    +1
    Yes, because it seems like the majority of Americans take everything 'as read', despite the spin involved.
  • Lisa 2012/05/08 19:17:51 (edited)
    Yes
    Lisa
    +1
    Yes they do for the foolish , the uninformed, and the youth and politically unsophisicated , the ones who just dont give a damn or the follow the sheep crowd. Ie >>"Obama 's gonna pay my mortgage types!!"



    If the facts are truthful and correct and negative ad can be very powerful.

    Unfortunately , lies and misconceptions make big impressions to the types of people mentioned above.
  • boltfox20 2012/05/08 19:02:54
    No
    boltfox20
    +2
    "Gray? What's that. We live in a 2-bit world, mister! Black and white, that's it! There's NEVER a third choice!" -_-

    I see negative ads in this light:

    "Hey! I don't want you to see all of the things I'VE screwed up, so I'm going to distract you with this libelous ad about my opponent."

    Every time I see a negative ad, I think less of the people involved in making it. Even ads that point out the negative ads are negative ads, and I think less of those people, too.

    If there is ever a presidential candidate that uses only positive ads, that will be the first decent candidate we've had in ages.
  • Larry M 2012/05/08 18:34:46
    Yes
    Larry M
    +1
    We all say we don't like them and shouldn't. I'd like to think that I am immune to them but probably not if I'm honest with my self.
  • TheNightFly 2012/05/08 18:16:32 (edited)
    Yes
    TheNightFly
    +1
    They don't cause anyone to switch sides. They only effect busy people who are usually uninformed- it helps them off the fence. They just backfire on people who know anything at all about the candidates.
  • Dub 2012/05/08 18:11:44
    Yes
    Dub
    +1
    Actually the negative ads make me think that the person that posted them has nothing good to say about themselves. I mean if the only thing you have is negative to say about your opponent what does that say about you?
  • 3kidsandamom 2012/05/08 17:52:37
    Yes
    3kidsandamom
    +2
    Sadly I know these ads are effective. If more people would research candidates running for office, educating themselves on the good and bad of all the candidates, then as an educated voting base people wouldn't be so easily swayed by a 60 second ad.
  • MS PRUD 2012/05/08 17:48:35
    No
    MS PRUD
    +1
    It does not take much to read between the lies. We have had 3 1//2 years of Obama and if we do not know what he promised and what he provided then we are the stupid ones..
  • Myopinionmatters 2012/05/08 17:45:45
    No
    Myopinionmatters
    +1
    I personally have little respect for political ads in general, debates are what draw me in.
  • Jackie 2012/05/08 16:12:56
    No
    Jackie
    +1
    I can't believe the majority answered this "yes."
  • exhon2009 Jackie 2012/05/08 19:40:32
    exhon2009
    That doesn't mean the majority agrees with the practice. I don't like negative ads and take the information with a grain of salt, but clearly they work. They can also backfire big time. If a campaign distorts the truth and the truth comes out it can be devastating to the campaign that ran the ad.
  • The I 2012/05/08 16:09:57
    Yes
    The I
    +1
    Yes! They effectively take voters minds off what the real issues are. Secondly, they are not about what the candidate did in the past or plans to do, so the plan is not to entice people to vote for the candidate based on their record or ambitions but to make people not to want to vote for the opposition based on knee jerk and / or emotional issues. The process is like the campaigns saying, "I think you are so dumb, I bet you can't figure out what I'm doing."
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