Political analyst says negative ads work

Louisiana Politics

POSTED: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 6:51pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, October 4, 2011 - 7:13pm

You’ve seen them on TV, campaign ads attacking opponents’ voting records, positions on their political issues, and their personalities. Voters say they’re tired of the back-and-forth bashing.

“They are vicious,” says Delisa Couvillon. “They are absolutely vicious.”

“They’re trying to knock each other down to push each other up,” adds Ruth Bates.

However, political analyst, Kirby Goidel, says those negative ads work. “What we know about people is they respond better to negative information,” he explains. “We remember it better. It attracts their attention better.”

He says its common practice when candidates from the same political party are running against each other. “The issue differences between the two candidates are much smaller, which means you have to focus on personality and the personal and personal character.”
While negative ads push the numbers, Goidel says there’s a downside to ragging on political rivals. “It pulls voters away from the political process, and it just disgusts them.”

“It makes me not want to vote,” says Couvillon.

Sometimes, it even makes voters think less of the person running the advertisement. “I want to know what they’re going to do,” says Gail Simon, “I don’t want to know what the other person didn’t do or what the other person is not going to do.”

Still, as long as the campaign strategy keeps working, Goidel says, those commercials aren’t going anywhere.

“It’s just sort of part of the game,” he explains. “It’s what candidates have to be thinking about in order to win elections, and I think that’s the ultimate goal.”

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