You can do one of two things with a political ad – try to build up your own candidate or try to tear down the other candidate. Option #2 has always been popular, but according to a Rasmussen poll, most say it isn’t really negative if it’s truthful.
On the other side from the 55% who believe an honest ad about an opponent cannot be considered negative are only 21% who say negative is negative, truthful or not. 24% aren’t sure which side to take.
40% think that the number of negative ads is up from 2008, against only 9% who think it’s down. 47% say it’s about the same.
Most of those surveyed are optimistic enough to believe that it is still possible to win without criticizing an opponent in advertising – 64% in fact. Only 22% believe an entirely positive campaign is doomed to fail, while 14% aren’t sure.
RBR-TVBR observation: We’re seeing lots of negative advertising and very little positive in our neck of the woods – and speaking as an informed citizen we’d say the problem with all of it is mixture of generally overwrought tone and a basic lack of substance. The complex issues facing us just cannot be boiled down into 30-second sound bites.
All of which is why the government has no business forcing broadcasters to fork over free air time to politicians. Besides the fact that there are insurmountable obstacles just in determining how much time goes to whom, there is the simple fact that most of the political advertising we get these days doesn’t even begin to address the encouragement of an enlightened electorate.