Negative Advertising in Political Campaigns

With the Presidential campaign now seemingly in full swing and hundreds of Senate, Congressional, Gubernatorial and local races beginning to ramp up, the air waves will soon be inundated with political advertisements by candidates, interest groups and political action committees all jockeying to have their candidate be the last one standing when the dust settles. It seems that during every election cycle we hear stories about the bitter nature of campaigns today and how, despite a strong and growing public opposition to negative ads, they will play an integral role in the race for whichever office is most hotly contested. Being a bit of a political junkie myself, I often have friends, family and co-workers ask me why do these campaigns feel so compelled to go negative and when did all this negative campaigning start? So as a precursor to the coming onslaught of political advertisements coming soon to a television near all of us, I thought I’d provide some insight on these types of ads both from a historical and advertising perspective.

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