Negative Campaign Advertising Explained

Local News

It’s rare to turn on the television without catching political candidates mudslinging. We spoke with a Muskingum University political science professor about what this election’s negative campaign advertising says about the candidates and the election.

Assistant political science professor Brian King says it’s common to see negative advertisements in any election, however, it began much earlier this year.

"I think what that points to are the stakes. There is a lot at stake in these elections, not just control of Congress and not just control of State Government in Columbus, but redistricting," says King.

King says Democrats may be feeling desperate to keep control, while Republicans see an opportunity to take over at least one house of Congress. He says this can lead to negative advertising because it sticks in people’s heads more than positive or "issue ads."

"The research shows over the long term, a potential voter who sees an add will remember the message and forget the messenger. So a challenger to an incumbent, for example, can blame the incumbent for doing something horrible and awful in office," says King.

King says record amounts of money have been spent on political advertising this year, which includes third-partys that can produce issue advertisements for a candidate without revealing donors.

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