Does Negative Political Ad Campaigning Really Work?
As we approach Election Day, it’s no secret that political ad campaigns with personal attacks by one candidate against another are running continuously on every television channel. Lawn signs say things like “Fire” so and so as a way of pushing people toward one side or the other. Every political ad is nastier than the next, as candidates are desperate to bring down their opponents from any/every angle possible. All of this begs the question of how effective these methods truly are? Are voters responding to these types of ads? Do negative ads have the ability to dissuade someone from voting for a particular candidate?
Studies have shown that these advertisements are effective in “influencing preferences and voter turnout”, but not “across the board”. I equate these advertisements to commercial product promotions. Viewers watch a commercial for a product, compare it to the competitor, and, unless already fond of a specific brand, will decide whether to buy it. Voters do the same thing when watching different ads for particular candidates. First, they compare the opponent, decide which candidate they deem more fit for the position, and, unless adamantly partisan, decide from there. Sometimes the advertisements work, other times voters are attached to their party’s candidate and are therefore immovable.
In addition, it’s believed that the more well known a candidate is, the more successful he/she will be. People tend to vote for candidates whose stances are clear, and television is the best place to publicize those views in a vast, quick and efficient manner. Although there is some benefit in calling attention to yourself in politics by denigrating and defaming someone else, I would rather be elected on a platform of effectiveness and positivity than because I found photos of my opposition with his pants down. It is my belief that voters are too smart to fall for the lies and deceptions in so many political ads we see today. Wouldn’t it be refreshing to hear a candidate say what they stood for rather than lie about what an opponent allegedly stands for? And make no mistake about it. Politicians on both sides of the aisle lie. Perhaps they can’t help themselves. But voters don’t need to be their dupes. So vote and have the final say.
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