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



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