Campaign and Elections Paper

Campaign and Elections Paper - The Red Phone: Why Negative...

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The Red Phone: Why Negative Advertisements Must Be Employed Sean Faulk E. Scott Adler Campaigns and Elections April 21, 2008
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“At least a third of all spot commercials in recent campaigns have been negative, and in a minority of campaigns half or more of the spots are negative in tone or substance” (Chang, “Effectiveness of Negative Political Advertising”). Negative advertisements have become increasingly prevalent as the years go by. The obvious reason for this is simple: they work. In the fast paced world of politics one does not want to be at a disadvantage to your opponents and by not running negative advertisements you are doing just that. By giving your opponent the chance to attack your image while you attempt to run positive advertisements in retaliation just will not work. While some might have you believe that negative advertisements cheapen or tarnish a candidates image which in turn causes less people to turn out and vote for that candidate the truth of the matter is they are highly effective tool. Negative advertisements are more effective than positive ones; and since the media extensively covers negative advertisements it will actually get your message out to more people who will in turn recall that message better than any positive message you issue. That is why you, Mr. Obama, must resort to using them come November. To begin we must first discuss how the use of negative political advertisements has eclipsed positive advertisements. For a long time a majority of the populace believed that negative advertisements only made a candidate appear vicious and deceitful. This would in turn cause people to shift their support away from the negative candidate towards one who preaches about his or her own positive strengths instead of deriding his opposing candidate. Recent studies have begun to prove that this actually is not anywhere close to the reality of what is actually effective in political campaigns. Justin Ewers wrote
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in U.S. News and World Report that, “As irate as they made viewers, though, the attack ads were surprisingly effective. After watching a negative ad sponsored by the opposition, 13.8 percent of viewers became more fervent defenders of their own candidate. But, surprisingly, the same number of viewers–13.8 percent–moved closer, on the seven-point scale, to the candidate they had previously opposed” (Ewers, “Hate Negative Political Ads All You Want. They Work.”). A swing of 13.8 percent of voters to the opposing side is a massive turning of the tides. More often than not elections are won and lost with less than 13.8 percent of the vote. With such an effective tactic at one's disposal it is indeed difficult not to succumb to the use of negative campaign attacks. Some may point out that these negative advertisements serve to further increase the
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Campaign and Elections Paper - The Red Phone: Why Negative...

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