A Negative Edge To Political Advertising Essay

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A Negative Edge To Political Advertising Essay, Research Paper AbstractThe purpose of the study is to focus on negative political advertisements and their effect on voter turnout. I will use an experimental design that manipulates the manner of television advertising while keeping many of the other aspects of the advertisement constant. To successfully execute this research, I will study people, the subjects during an ongoing political campaign. I will demonstrate that exposure to attack advertising will significantly decrease voter engagement and participation. My hypothesis can assert that campaigns can either be mobilizing events or the exact opposite, depending upon the nature of the messages they generate. Introduction There is a purpose to understanding the effects of

negative advertising for political campaigns. Almost everyone at some point in their lives votes for a candidate whom they believe will do their very best to represent them. We are constantly bombarded with advertisements, some good and some bad, during a political election. As individuals, we must decide who would best symbolize our country s, state s, or city s needs and vote for that person. The unfortunate side of all of this is that most voters rely heavily on what is communicated to them through the media. American campaigns have changed dramatically since the 1940 s and 1950 s (Wilson, A1). Information technology has greatly improved over the years with the invention of television and especially the Internet. These technological advances have radically changed the nature

and the tone of campaigns. Some campaigns have turned ugly and hostile, becoming apparent that candidates often criticize, discredit, and belittle their opponents rather than promote their own ideas programs. The inventions of new technology have lead to the increase in nasty campaign advertising. The tremendous speed at which information now travels increases the availability of negative campaigns within the media. This leads to the demobilizations hypothesis, which proposes that even when voters are likely to go out and vote, these prominent attack ads make them hesitant to do so. People should be aware of these negative campaign messages, which is why it is worth studying the effects of negative political advertising.Review of Literature Since the early 1980 s negative

advertising has become the dominant strategy for most campaigns for high visibility offices in the United States. According to Johnson-Cartee, Negative political advertising is political advertising that implicitly or explicitly places the opposition in an inferior position (1997). Negative political advertising is a manifestation of a political ad, an argument that calls into question a candidate s suitability for office. Fitness for office is the crucial voter test when making the voting decision (Johnson-Cartee, 1997). The influence of negative information is strong because it is easier to retrieve then positive information during information processing and it is retained in long-term memory. In order for negative political advertising to work, it must be believable, be

factually supported, and be considered fair. If voters perceive that a candidate is unfairly attacking or misrepresenting an issue while discussing the opposition, this can lead to backlash against the sponsoring candidate. Campaign advertising was once relied on to get the candidates issues across to the voters, but now the advertisements are primarily used to trash the opponents. In a recent article published in the Washington Post, Vice President Gore was quoted saying that Bush is a racist and if elected would appoint Supreme Court justices with views reminiscent of the days when blacks were considered three-fifths of a human being” (Connolly & Nakashima, 2000). Likewise, Senator Charles Robb was quoted saying that his opponent (George Allen) was very apathetic towards