HGov: Negative Campaigning

Negative Campaigning

During a campaign, media consultants may advise a candidate to “go negative.” This means switching from a positive, upbeat campaign to negative campaigning, also known as mudslinging. The decision to go negative is not taken lightly. Polls show that the public dislikes attack ads. Going negative also leaves the candidate open to criticism for running a mean-spirited campaign. Why then take the risk? A media consultant consider negative campaigning only when the candidate has absolute proof that the opponent has done something wrong or when the candidate is facing an uphill battle and has little to lose.

Campaigns go negative because it works. Negative ads work by discouraging voters who might have supported a candidate under attack from going to the polls. However, negative campaigning may actually stimulate voter interest. Negative ads work not by discouraging voting, but instead by causing more voters to go to the polls and choose a different candidate on Election Day. Like it or hate it, negative campaigning is part of our political tradition. How well it works depends on how voters react to what they see and hear during each election season.

1) Candidate Campaign Commercial – due Wednesday 11/4



Econ: Graphic Equations


Graphic Equation Wheat Industry-2014
You will create a graphic equation. Your graphic equation must visually explain how an industry illustrates the four main characteristics of market structures.

Read your handout and learn about your assigned industry and decide which market structure it exemplifies. Identify the four characteristics of market structures—number of producers, similarity of products, ease of entry, and control over prices—as they relate to your industry. Based on these characteristics, identify your industry’s market structure.

Create your graphic equation:

  • Visually demonstrate how the four characteristics of market structures apply to your industry. Include two graphs and two illustrations.
  • For each characteristic, write a one- or two-sentence summary explaining how it uniquely functions in your industry. Make sure all four summaries relate to their accompanying graphs or illustrations.
  • Do not use the name of your industry’s market structure anywhere in your summaries. Your classmates will determine the market structure by examining your graphic equation.


HGov: Campaign Commercials

Campaign Commercials-2

Each candidate group (2-3 students) will create a commercial for their candidate. Political advertisements usually fall into two broad groups, issues and images. The focus of your commercial is a positive image and/or issue based advertisement. You will use one or more of the following persuasive techniques: name-calling, testimonial, transfer, bandwagon, plain folks, card-stacking, and glittering generalities. Carefully read the information you receive about your assigned candidate. Identify these things in your commercial: experience that qualifies your candidate to be president, why your candidate will appeal to the public, what differentiates your candidate from their opponents, and the candidate’s message.

1) Candidate Campaign Commercial – due Wednesday 11/4


Econ: Market Structure Characteristics

Market Structure Types

Based on the four main characteristics, economists have identified four basic market structures: perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly.

Perfect competition is the most efficient and competitive market structure. It consists of many producers who provide identical goods, usually referred to as commodities. Prices are established by the interaction of supply and demand.

Monopolistic competition is a market in which many producers provide a variety of similar goods. Such markets are characterized by the use of nonprice competition to differentiate products and build brand loyalty. To the extent that firms monopolize their own brands, they may have some control over prices, but such markets remain relatively competitive.

An oligopoly is a market dominated by a small number of producers who provide similar, but not identical, goods. Firms in an oligopoly often set prices based on other firms’ pricing decisions. Because oligopolies can dominate markets, their effect may be much like that of a monopoly.

A monopoly is the opposite of perfect competition. In a monopoly, a single producer provides a unique product and therefore has significant control over prices. The government permits certain linds of monopolies to exist because they are believed to serve the public interest.


HGov: Persuasive Campaign Techniques

Political Campaigning

Political campaigns use a number of persuasive techniques in an attempt to influence the opinions of voters. The more you know of these techniques, the better you will be at analyzing political advertising.

Name-calling uses personal attacks on an opponent to distract voters from the real issues of the campaign. The goal is to inspire doubts about the opponent’s fitness for office by appealing to people’s fears or prejudices.

Transfer uses symbols or images that evoke emotion to something unrelated, such as a candidate or proposition.

Bandwagon creates the impression that “everyone” supports a cause or candidate. This technique plays on people’s desire to conform or climb on the bandwagon, rather than be left behind.

Plain folks uses folksy or everyday images and language too show that the candidate is a regular person who understands the needs and concerns of the common people.

Testimonials is using a well-known celebrity or personality endorse a candidate or proposal. The hope is that voters will follow the celebrity’s example without questioning his or her qualifications to make such a judgement.

Card-stacking is presenting facts, statistics, and other evidences that support only one side of the argument.

Glittering generalities uses vague, sweeping statements that appeal to voters emotionally, but do not actually say much of anything specific. Candidates and proposals are often described in lofty terms.

Political advertisements usually fall into two groups. The first group deals with issues, the second with images. Ads in either group can be positive or negative. Positive ads are aimed at making you like or respect a candidate, while negative ads are designed to make you dislike or fear his or her opponent. 

Positive issue ads promote a candidate’s position on topics calculated to appeal to voters. Negative issue ads, on the other hand, criticize the opponent’s stand on issues of importance to voters.

A positive image ads might show the candidate as a selfless public servant, a strong leader, or someone who cares about ordinary people. The candidate might be portrayed as a hero or as just “plain folk.” In contrast, a negative image ads might portray the opponent as weak, inexperienced, or lacking in integrity. Often negative ads include unflattering photographs of the opposition candidate. The desired effect is to convince voters that this person is somehow unfit for public office.

1) Candidate Campaign Commercial – due Wednesday 11/4


Econ: Market Structure


Prices and the price system determine what goods and services will be produced, how they will be produced, and who will receive them. Prices are affected by many factors. Stock prices fluctuate daily. The price of a bus ride is likely to remain unchanged for years. Unbranded goods cost less than the ones with the well-known name. Candy bars at the checkout counter all seem to sell for the same price. Cell phone companies operate differently from coffee shops, grocery stores, or car dealerships. The truth is that even in a free market economy, not all industries and markets are equally competitive. Market structure refers to the organization of a market based mainly on the degree of competition among producers. Economists define market structure according to four main characteristics: number of producers, similarity of products, ease of entry, and control over prices. 

The number of producers in a market helps determine the level of competition. Markets with many producers are more competitive.

The degree to which products in a market are similar also affects competition. The more similar the products are, the greater the competition among their producers.

Markets differ in their ease of entry, which is a measure of how easy it is to start a new business and begin competing with established businesses. Markets that are easy to enter, with few restrictions, have more producers and are thus more competitive.

Markets also differ in the degree to which producers can control prices. The ability to influence prices, usually by increasing or decreasing the supply of goods, is known as market power. The more competitive the market, the less market power any one producer will have.


HGov: Campaign Poster Website

Students will be assigned to a political candidate. So that others can learn about their candidate, they will be creating a poster campaign website. The candidate’s poster should include the candidate’s name. Create a slogan appropriate for your candidate and display it prominently. Create brief position statements explaining your candidate’s views covering the major issues in a fictitious presidential campaign.

Candidate Website

Candidate Poster Website – due Wednesday 10/28