Are negative campaign ads affective? - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

By Chris Conte

Are negative campaign ads affective?


ROCHESTER (KTTC-DT)-- As campaign season draws to a close, politicians across Minnesota are spending millions of dollars on negative campaign ads even though most voters and some political experts say they do little to sway undecided voters into voting for a specific candidate.

"To me there's varying degrees of negative campaigning," says Chad Isrealson.

Isrealson is a history and social-science professor at Rochester Community Technical College and believes negative ads usually energy those who already have a political identity.

"If you're doing your homework and paying attention, you shouldn't be swayed by these adds," he notes.

As campaign season moves into high gear, a majority of voters can usually be heard mumbling the phrase "This is the worst election I've ever seen," but negative campaigning has been around since the beginning of American politics and was even worse at the turn of the 19th century.

"When John Quincy Adams ran against Andrew Jackson they tried to portray him (Jackson) as the illegitimate son of a prostitute because his father had actually died before Jackson was born," Isrealson says, "of course today that would never fly."

But as politicians try and pull in those final few crucial voters, Israelson doesn't expect negative ads to go away anytime soon.

"You see this ad and you think, they're terrible, I have to go and vote against them."

Powered by Frankly