Why do negative campaign ads work?
This is a screengrab from an anti-Romney ad that the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees aired in Florida, accusing him of making a $473,000 profit from his firm's investments in a medical company that admitted engaging in Medicare fraud.
May 8th, 2012
03:33 PM ET

Why do negative campaign ads work?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

When it comes to presidential campaign ads - it's already ugly out there. Very ugly.

A new study shows negative campaign ads in the race for the White House have skyrocketed since 2008.

According to the Wesleyan Media Project, 70% of presidential campaign commercials run so far have been negative. 70%. That compares to just 9% at this point in the 2008 campaign.

Experts say part of the reason for all this negativity is the "skyrocketing involvement of interest groups." Their activity is up 1,100% from four years ago. But it's not just the interest groups that are going negative. The campaigns are also to blame.

The study shows more than half of the ads put out by the campaigns have been negative, as well as 86% of the commercials put out by independent groups, like Super Pacs. That's a lot of trash talking.

These groups are dominating the airwaves, accounting for about 60% of commercials. The campaigns account for just 36% of the spots. Compare that to 2008 when virtually all of the ads in the White House race - 96% - came from campaigns.

We have the Supreme Court to thank for the outsized role of outside groups. The 2010 Citizens United decision allows for unlimited donations by corporations as long as they're made to groups independent of the candidate. Like Super Pacs.

Meanwhile with six months to go until the election, get ready for an onslaught of negative ads from both sides.

That's because even though voters say they don't like negative campaigning, the ads are effective. Experts say negative ads tap into emotions like anxiety, fear and disgust - that can push a voter away from a candidate.

Here’s my question to you: Why do negative campaign ads work?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. My V. Nguyen Michigan

    Do you seriously think that job and economy will be the main issues in this year election?

    After all, looking back at the 2008 elections, all that the Republican presidential candidates talked about were the War on Terror, of keeping Americans permanently involved in Iraq, or of Mrs. Palin wardrobe and her philosophy.

    All these things happened even when this country was heading into the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  2. Mel - Houston

    Because it props up ones ego. They don't advance the discision process of selecting a candidate to vote for. Slinging hyperbole is easier than telling the truth.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
  3. Bill of New Mexico

    Consider the positive campaign ad:

    I will do this to create more jobs.
    I will do this to reduce the price of fuel.
    I will do this to reduce the debt.
    I will do this to ....
    I will ....
    Bragging, bragging,-the old pompous rooster! Besides if you are in your seventies, you have heard it all before. B.S.
    I am bored to tears.

    Consider the negative campaign ad:
    My opponent stole.
    My opponent lied.
    My opponent commits crimes.
    My opponent is a horrible excuse for a human being.
    Hey! This has the ring of truth. I am interested. I see it in a second source. Now, I see it in a third news media. His opponent would say something like this, but he is capable.

    The perfect campaign. A negative campaign run by a third party and supposedly disinterested party.
    While running a brothel, candidate A stole from his customers.
    This has the ring of truth, plus why would a third party lie?

    May 7, 2012 at 1:27 pm |
  4. Doug Ericson

    A candidate is largely defined by his past record. If an opponent can show in an ad, that the other guy isn't being truthfull based on their past record, then it is a lieugitimate way to attack an opponent. I think the issue becomes a little grayer if you have a candidate like a Donald Trump, ( for example ), who doesesn't have a past voting record. Then the negative attacks become more personal. But if Trump were to say one thing and you could prove it wasn't true, why not point it out in an ad to set the record straight. Since all the candidates are crooks of the lowest form, without a single exception, the candidate with the most money is more likely to win, everything else being equal. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm |
  5. Pete in Georgia

    Mainly because they're FULL of lies, half truths, and statements totally out of context. Everyone in charge knows the truth but they also know their American audience, an illiterate bunch when it comes to FACTUAL history.
    Beyond sad.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:33 pm |
  6. Gary in San Jose, California

    That's easy Jack. Our current crop of politicians are so weak that they can't stand on their own merit so they criticize their opponents to make themselves look like the better option. We get to pick the strongest of the weaklings.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  7. John from Alabama

    Jack: Negative campaign ads work, because the public expects a street fight, and negative campaign ads is a dirty business. The best at it was Karl Rove, but actually the people Karl hired for campaign ads were stinkers. The packs are doing all the negative ad campaigns. I believe the best and the worse negative campaign ads will be in Ohio, Pennslyvania, and Florida. Each party will use there energy to unseat candidates in Congress like the Tea Party candidates. Dirty campaign ads is nothing new, they been around since before the Civil War.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  8. Edy L

    I think the negative campaigning works because folks just look at what is in front of them with no research. Then they think 'I sure don't want that guy/lady'. One problem, they are all politicians therefore just tell you what they think you want to hear. The real people don't have the kind of money it takes to run for office.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I am curious why you used example of Romney being attacked by a negative ad in Florida? I believe people love hearing about dirt on other people no matter whether it is true or not. For proof of this all you would have to do is ask Gingrich, Santorum and Perry who were victims of being bombarded by negative ads, by a very rich man named Romney. Santorum knew very well he could not compete in his home state of Pennsylvania because Romney was about to attack him with negative ads that would have made shock and all look like a quiet Sunday afternoon.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:50 pm |
  10. Greg in Arkansas

    People would rather build a fire under a problem than shine a light on a solution.
    Watching an opposing candidate go down in flames is more satisfying than hearing any practical approach to fixing what's broke.
    Voters have become accustomed to expecting the other side lose rather than having their side win, regardless of the cost. Bipartisanship became a dirty word so OUR country is bitterly divided by petty party politics, trivial issues and angry rhetoric …so…negative ads make us feel better because swearing at a politician on the TV doesn't work anymore.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  11. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." Shakespeare says it best, not that you're not a fine writer in your own write. People who lost good paying jobs through Romney's efforts at Bain Capital are going to remember that a long time after they have forgotten all about him holding the door for them on their way out.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  12. Aleta

    Negative ads turn me off, they have no effect on me. I understand who the candidates are, what they believe in and stand for and that is what I base my vote on. Get the facts folks and make an educated decision.

    May 7, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  13. Joe Johnson from Eustis Fl

    I dont believe anything the dems put out at this time of the year sorry doesnt mean anything!

    May 7, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  14. JIM

    They work because we as a people are eager to believe any negative thing we hear about other people. It is in our nature and there isn't much we can do to change and the Politicians know this.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  15. Gerry

    Because they highlight a deficiency that the public was not aware of and the victim usually is blindsided and doesn't have the opportunity to defend himself. This coming election should break all records in negative ads and slander. The key to all the ads is money. Whenever support for a candidate is mentioned all they refer to is his/her campaign war chest. Seems like we don't need an election, just put the person in office that has the biggest campaign fund.

    Ash Fork, Az.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  16. Brad, Portland, OR

    Negative ads work because most people don't have the time or inclination to do their own research.

    People mistakenly think that false advertising laws apply to political ads, and so they believe what they say, even if they're filled with total falsehoods. People figure that if the commercials were false, the TV network wouldn't be allowed to broadcast them.

    Also, some politicians think they can "take the high road" and not dignify negative ads with a response. John Kerry was a victim of this kind of wishful thinking.

    What really happens is people figure that you'd deny an allegation if it wasn't true, so if you don't deny it, it must be true.

    Put all this together, and politicians put on negative ads against their opponents because it works.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  17. Gary H. Boyd

    For the same reason people are drawn to watch a hockey match versus a chess tournament. The former being nothing more than a fist-fight on ice while the latter is an intellectual challenge. Poliuticians are aware the majority of voters remember a mud fight more than they do a smile and a handshake.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    May 7, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  18. calaurore9

    Because too many people are lazy and/or apathetic so don't question or research anything much. It's easy shorthand.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    May 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  19. DT - Saint Paul, MN

    It's irresponsible to NOT warn the people about the immoral behaviors of candidates. The problem is when they start lying or taking things completely out of context.... like what Romney did.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  20. Ed Crocheron, West Chester, PA

    I believe the following quote covers the whole gamut of negative political ads; "The lies are so much easier to believe when they are exactly what you were hoping to hear."- author unknown

    May 7, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  21. Richard Texas

    Jack I just got another email today questioning Obama's citizenship. This was the same email that has been going around 2 years before Obama was elected. When people do not take the time to get to know these candidates they are left to ponder what ever they come across on the TV, News print and the internet. The truth has become more obscure with the internet. Lies and deceit are rampant on the internet super highway and there are no internet police to stop them.

    The trouble with the world is not that people know too little, but that they know so many things that ain't so." Mark Twain

    May 7, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  22. Barbara Leavitt

    Well Jack, be cause we are LAZY and it's easier to believe them than researching them. So we now have an America that is divided rather than United ~ all thanks to the 'people' paying for the ads.

    Barbara Leavitt
    Henderson Nevada

    May 7, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  23. David Gerstenfeld

    Jack, Say anything "juicy' on the air and we'll pass it on as truth just like we did in high school. The more negative the better. If potential voters bothered to see if ads were accurate they wouldn't have time to tweet everyone what they just fed their dog !
    David, Las vegas

    May 7, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  24. clephas

    To be blunt, it is far easier to destroy a reputation than to build one. If you pay close attention to the President as an example, he has done far more good than he has done ill for this country, and yet he is quite thoroughly hated by a great number of people. This is despite the fact that he has frequently taken actions that should have been approved by such people, if they were loyal to their stated ideals. People tend to judge others more by their faults than their good traits, unless they are family and this is particularly true in politics.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  25. MNResident

    Negative ads work because there is at least a half truth in them. Democrat politicians call Republican politicians evil, and that is a half truth. Republican politicians call Democrat politicians evil, and that is a half truth. The WHOLE truth is that BOTH Democrat politicians AND Republican politicians are evil, but I don't think we will ever see ads that declare that on the air.....

    May 7, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  26. Kim , Dodge City, Ks

    Sometimes you can find the truth in negative ads, but alas, politics in not about truth. Politics is about the illusion that a candidate cares about the little guy. Negative campaigns work mostly because we have an ill-educated, narrow minded and incredibly gullible citizenry that can't tell the difference between thinking for themselves, and being psychologically manipulated.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  27. David, in hot and sunny Tampa

    Maybe I have become too jaded over the decades but negative campaign ads are like regular campaign ads to me, just plain old BS. Like the candidates, I no longer pay any attention to any campaign ads. The ads, like the candidates, no longer say anything meaningful much less honest. I'm sure these thing work on the gullible and the rabid members of the party faithful. I have learned over the years campaigns speeches and ads don't mean anything to the candidates so why should they mean anything to me. Once in office they no longer represent their constituents but only party and self interests.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  28. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Most people are stupid and believe what they see and hear regardless of the facts. That's why I'm and independent, I have a brain and a heart. Brainwashing works and that's how most elections are won.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  29. Richard Texas

    Because it only takes a handful of people to believe them and the votes just got swayed. If you do this enough times an election is won. Ignorance is a powerful political tool. If you put that ignorance in the right place a president is born.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  30. Loren, Chicago

    Because it follows the same tack as most media reporting: write a catchy headline because no one reads the articlefor the facts. Negative campaigns play to the prejudice that the viewer already has about a candidate and reinforces their preexisting prejudice. But then this has been going on since time immemorial–gossip, being one example, nd the "big lie" being the other. Until people start taking a greater interest in learning the facts about things, negative campaigns will be effective.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  31. Pat in Michigan

    Because we have evolved from real asassinations to character assasinations . Just as effective but not as bloody!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  32. Evinia Bruce

    ...because the general population is lazy and uninformed ..and don't want to do their homework ..[can you blame them ? they are pretty tired ..of EVERYTHING!!].....politicians know this and feel free to lie with impunity ..and no reporter or interviewer calls them on it .... negative ads re-enfiorce the voter 's opinion of a candidate he doesn't like ,,and justifies his unfavorable[ in many caes erronoeus opinion of that person ...he doesn't have to weigh the arguekments ..and feels justified in his mind BC canada...

    May 7, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  33. Pete in Florida

    The sad fact is, negative campaign ads are very effective with people that are uniformed, misinformed, ignorant, and/or gullible. Also, the whackos, the haters, the racists, the misogynists, the xenophobes, and those that are already "locked in" with one party or the other. In other words, about 75% of the electorate and 99% of FOX News viewers. I used to work for a Republican U.S. Senator, and believe me, they all know exactly who their target audience is, and how to fire 'em up. Facts not only don't matter, they're pretty much forbidden. America apparently loves liars.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  34. Martha Brooks

    I think it's kind of like gossip. We are for the most part more interested in the negative, even if untrue or half-true. Like hearing about our neighbors' and/or celebrities' peccadilloes rather than their niceties. Human nature, raw.
    Martha, Rew, PA

    May 7, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  35. Ken in California

    “Positive politics” is indeed an oxymoron in our world of “off with their heads campaigning”.
    Always at war, not enough jobs paying a living wage, trillions in national and personal debt, guns, hating each other, drugs, political cable networks, etc, have made us susceptible to political campaign negativity.

    May 7, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  36. Ron WPAFB

    Well, there is Negative in the way the GOP does, Nonfactual, sound bytes out of context, and just flat lying. Then there is telling the truth about the other side. It is the only way to separate yourself from your opponent. GOP doesn't like it when the President does that. It's about truth Jack! Remember Jack, The sky is blue and water's wet and old Satan Clause, he's out there!

    May 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  37. jk in MN

    They work because a lot of the electorate is either too lazy or not interested in fact checking claims and only start paying attention when it's close to November. In their defense, how can they fact check when a candidate says one thing during primary season and then says the opposite once the primary competition is over. I personally will never vote for a candidate that does this. I fact check anything I hear that doesn't make sense – I'm probably a minority of the voters, sad to say.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  38. ken, atlantic city, nj

    Negative works because u.s. voters are dumb and gullible.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  39. Ruth in Indianapolis

    What would a "positive ad" consist of? Can we brag about the economy, the environment, or the rising cost of everything? What is there that is positive? Sorry, we're stuck with being negative.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  40. Noel Sivertson Roswell NM

    People like to believe the worst. This is especially true in politics where people tend to live in an impenetrable bubble of partisanship. It's a function of what physcologists call motivated reasoning. Anything that tends to discredit a political opponent becomes instantly believable among the more devout partisans because party politics motivates them to believe that way.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  41. sanstone

    "I'm not sure if they do in the long term, but they add spice to grumbles and gripes, if you're looking for snipes."

    May 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  42. Dan in Albuquerque

    Because politicians have become so extreme, and their parties' policies are now poles apart with no compromise as in the old days...so all that's left in an argument between two unyielding sides is the blame game. Since ardent supporters of either cause already believes the worst about their opponent, these negative ads, true or not, just support their pre-determined beliefs. Until we get extremes of both sides, particularly the Tea Party, to give a little, this country is in deep trouble.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  43. Karl from Flint, MI

    Negative ads work because the American people have been dumbed down over the past four years to the point if it isn't trash we don't watch. All the polarized politics has taken it's toll and now it's anything goes, thanks to the SC. If we didn't know how lowdown politics could get, we are finding out the hard way. It seems the less logical and more irrational the ads are, the more popular that candidate becomes. Has America become a loonie bin?

    May 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  44. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    Because they turn off lukewarm supporters of the target while galvinizing the base of the advertiser. Also, undecided voters like to pick whomever is popular. Negative ads make the target look unpopular if repeated often enough. What is worse for a candidate, however, is to be entirely ignored, which is why no one runs negative ads against Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, the Green Party or Americans Elect (or me).

    May 7, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  45. Nate NC

    In this gossip filled society truth seems to be the "dirt" or negative statements made about a person. Especially since people are too lazy to seek out the truth for themselves.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  46. Willy in Las Vegas

    because in the case of Mitt Romney, most are absolutely TRUE. this bird was a "Gordon Gekko" while at Bain Capital destroying companies to enrich himself. might be "good business" on Wall Street BUT it's sure NOT a trait I want in a President of the United States.

    shows he's only for himself and his 1% buddies.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  47. cnspot

    the reason they work? by making the same person seem bad 10,000 times is basically like saying that they are such a threat, and that they do so much good that they need to say something bad. Everybody knows how the media twists things, so when the media posts that they dont like a certain somebody(Romney) people think that the media is just being......well, the media.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  48. Jayne in NH

    There are 2 kinds of negative ads: the ones that are factual and the ones that are lies. The factual ones should be out there to inform the public of what they're voting for. The negative ones that are total fabrications – like the "Swiftboat" ads that turned a war hero into a wimp – shouldn't be allowed to be broadcast. They're effective because people are too lazy to investigate and learn the truth.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  49. Leta

    Of course, it does work! I hope the people only watching Beck. Limbaugh, Palin, Bachmann and Fox channel
    will just stay home and not vote this November 2012 election.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  50. Wm in PA

    Yes, the reality based research concludes the hate ads work. They work very well with the half of the US population with less than average intellectual potential. The 24/7 propaganda of the Right-Wing-Nut-Liars has saturated the media so even some fall victim to the repetition effect. The billionaires have unlimited cash to buy every inch of print, every minute of air time available on radio and television. Sad. The US is on the way to destroying our experiment in liberty and justice for all.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
  51. politicsonspot

    they work for one reason. The American people don't know enough about politics to think by themselves. Most people vote for the most popular person and listen to stupid ads like these because they don't know what else to base a vote off of.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  52. Tom in Desoto, TX

    Just like the TV news, if it bleeds it leads. Good stories don't have viewership. If a person what's to feel better about themselves, find fault with others. Example: Who spends more time tanning, Romney or Boehner? I expect to see an national poll asking this exact question in the near future.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:34 pm |
  53. Ted

    This is an easy one..Too many people think that if they see it on T V it must be the truth. Negative ads are for people who do not do their homework. People that are easly swayed by emotions and not the truth. I read somewhere that..If you control the media ,you can control the masses..Call it brainwashing or propaganda ,but sadly it works...

    May 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  54. Kirk (Apple Valley, MN)

    Because people in general are too lazy (or stupid) to disbelieve or question what they hear in a negative ad, especially when it's about Obama.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  55. mycroft lake travis texas

    Wouldn't it be great Jack if the only negative adds were true. Carl Rove has not been arrested and locked up so, unfortunately all of the untrue negative adds will be coming from Republicans. Currently I haven't seen the Obama campaign put forth one untrue negative add. That is why he's going to win this election in a landslide, he just seems to out class the opposition every time. Vote for Obama, he got Osama ! Truly A Proven Winner !

    May 7, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  56. Don Desaulniers (Belleville, Canada)

    Most of us tend to believe what we are told in newspapers or on TV, assuming that the editors and networks wouldn't permit anyone to tell us an outright lie.
    Maybe we're right about that, but the negative ads tend to emphasize just one small portion of a quote, or pick out one solitary statistic and then they make unwarranted assumptions which they present to us as fact.
    Perhaps it all wouldn't matter if the politicians or special interest groups truly had the betterment of America as their primary goal. Sadly, the politicians are only concerned with their re-election, and the special interest groups only care about maximizing their profit. Not a good recipe for a new and improved version of American democracy.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:38 pm |
  57. Al - Orlando

    Negative ads work when you have a negative candidate

    May 7, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  58. Dave in Seattle

    The reason's universal. The German's call it "schadenfreude", the secret pleasure we sometimes take in the misfortune of others. In English, it's "morose delectation"–-taking enjoyment, now and then, in evil thoughts." Not pretty, but it's human nature, plain and simple.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  59. Michael "C" Lorton, Virginia

    Jack: Who says they do! It is a roll of the dice-–50-50.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  60. Jeff In Minnesota

    Like Don Henley of the Eagles said, "I make my living off the evening news, Just give me something, something I can use, People love it when you lose, they love dirty laundry." It's like a train wreck Jack. You really should look away, but you just have to see it.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  61. 2011 Eyes

    Negative ads accomplish nothing, just like the negativity in Congress for the last 3+ years. Ads should contain only what the candidate will do to continue to get this country on track. If they can't be truthful about their plans for this country, they won't get the vote. The problems are serious and we don't need the self-serving 1%ers continuing to call the shots.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  62. It's May, Wyoming

    So this means that the big money is campaigning AGAINST something rather than FOR a candidate. Like the swift boat campaign against Kerry. Like the birther people against Obama. The Party of No has it down to a fine art. They're not alone, but they are the biggest example. This appeals to the worst in all of us and plays on our fears and insecurities.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  63. Ralph Nelson

    I fully believe negative campaign ads work because people listen to them and are dumb enough to allow themselves to be duped. As my friend has told me, there are people back in Washington, D.C. who are working for the government and just waiting for the order to rise up as socialists and enslave us all. And she has a masters degree. What are you gonna do? People well believe anything, no matter how silly.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  64. Layne Alleman

    Jack, It seems that our culture, as a whole, is running on this bent. From what I see on TV in both commercials and programing, this "attitude" way of talking and acting is supposed to be humorous and macho. I, myself see it as a further regression or "dumbing-down" of our society as a whole. During the Republican debates, there didn't seem to me to be much debating, just a lot of name-calling and finger pointing. Hard to really understand someone's position on an issue, when all they focus on are negatives. I know Presidential campaigns have always had a certain negative swing, but if radio and TV are going to be high-jacked for the next 7 months with this garbage, I'm going to be spending my free time listening to my 8-track tapes and watching my VHS movies. Layne A. Antioch, Il.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  65. Paul in NC

    Negative campaign adds work because most positive camapigning fails. To run a positive campaign requires long detailed explanation's of one's positions accompanied by supporting facts and data. The majority of voters have neither the intellect nor the patience required to wade through that. So they take the easy route and blindly accept negative adds which are generally distortions, fabrications or half truths. Romney's primary campaign is a prime example. Having virtually no positive attributes to offer, Mitt's campaign has been nearly 100% negative attack adds. After all, it doesn't matter how bad a president you might become as long as you can make your opponents look worse. Any wonder this country is where it's at?

    May 7, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  66. Charles, Lansing, Michigan

    Is it because they are sanctioned by the highest court in the land? When that gang of misfits opened the door to corporations to have more rights than individuals, it allowed every special interest and racist to incorporate and walk into any theatre and holler fire.

    May 7, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  67. 1grasshopper

    Because it allows the everyday person to see that these people also screw up and it takes them away from their problems just for a moment.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  68. Frank Poynton from Los Angeles

    Any armchair psychologist will tell you that it is much easier to use fear and intimidation tactics on the uninformed and ignorant than it is to instill confidence and a sense of well being. Enough negative brainwashing and fear based persuasion can make lame brained individuals feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves and give them a sense of empowerment. The masses that fall prey to this conditioning can then be led down the primrose path of self destruction to the voting booth and vote in favor of their captors.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  69. Sylvia in San Diego

    Because too many people are too lazy and stupid to do their own research so they believe everything they hear... Unfortunately, people are not given a test before they are allowed to vote...

    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  70. Mr. D

    Anxiety, fear and disgust, that indeed sounds like politics. What else would you expect? That's what keeps the whole political game going, and the country on edge. Are we so naive as to expect anything else? What a country.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  71. Joe in Missouri

    They stroke your supporters and discourage your detractors. The only way negative ads will quit working is when voters intentionally vote against the candidate whose pacs use the most negative ads.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  72. Gigi Oregon

    I'm not so sure you are right. In my circle of friends and family we Google everything and do our own fact checking. We don't need to listen to the news or the ads. In our Beautiful state of rivers, lakes, streams and Pacific sea coast we don't have time for garbage. Even little old ladies love to Google. While my kids and grand kids work, Grandma Goggles for them.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  73. Kevin in CA

    Ask a psychologist, not the great unwashed mob.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  74. curtis in philadelphia

    Yes, because most people already think politicians stink without these ads, so when we see these ads those already formed opinions are reinforced and help us quantify how much they really stink.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  75. Ron WPAFB

    Well, there is Negative in the way the GOP does, Nonfactual, sound bytes out of context, and just flat lying. Then there is telling the truth about the other side. It is the only way to separate yourself from your opponent. GOP doesn't like it when the President does that. It's about truth Jack! Remember Jack, The sky is blue and water's wet and old Satan Clause, he's out there!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  76. Bob in Kansas City

    Why do they work?.......because there is nothing but a bunch or four star liars running for national offices...Presidential candidates, House candidates and Senate candidates. Throw in a huge group of voters that believe everything they see on tv from both parties and you can see why they work. Wanna fix it?....term limits-one & done~~~~~~~~ for all of them.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  77. Larry In Houston

    Why do negative campaign ads work ?
    Answer : After reading Bill of New Mexico's answer & Doug Ericson's answer, I guess I don't have anything else to add.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  78. A Southern Lady - North Carolina

    Republican mouth-piece Carl Rove, the master of meaness, said to the effect that if you tell some people a lie over and over again, they will believe it. And, to prove it, the Republicans drove home the idea that the President was not a Christian, was not born in Hawaii and was "hiding something." Of course, none of that was true but ,to the under-educated, those who do not read and only listen to Fox News, this is what they believe. And, there is always the hint of racism when they attack the President. What has happened to the once-proud Republican party?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  79. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    Very simply, we all like to think of ourselves and our groups, clubs, fraterities, sororities, etc. are better than "the others". Negative ads pit one group against another and if they are done properly, they make us feel as if we are part of the group that is on the right side of the issue.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  80. Alex in Wisconsin

    We live not only in the information age, we live in the misinformation age. Most people are just too self-absorbed to fact check what they are told and the media fails regularly to do so. Thats why 30% of voters this november will vote against president obama on the basis of the birther myth, his muslim identity, his communist connections, and a number of other provably false accusations.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  81. Gail, Plano TX.

    If they work, it is because 1/2 of the electorate are crazy! Or stupid!

    The SCOTUS should hang its collective heads in shame for passing Citizens United! Those who voted for this legislation has literally destroyed our democracy, what's left if it that is.

    May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  82. Bob

    Negative campaigning works just like the thousands of untrue stories on the Internet. It appeals to our baser levels and confirms negative ideas that fall neatly into our present mindset. It requires minimal thinking and hits an emotional note. Yeah that candidate is not good because he did this or that or supported something that I do not like. Much easier than checking on what each candidate has done and why. So, go negative is easier, harder for the other candidate since they will have to spend more money to defend and many people will not listen, fully at least, to the answer and will often decide that if it was not true, why would the candidate be trying to respond to those charges?

    May 7, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  83. Renee, Illinois

    If they're targeting people who are afraid then you've answered your own question. Frightened people never make wise decisions and well, . . . look at our choices. The last thing the campaigns want is a thoughtful, well-informed electorate calmly weighing their decision based on the facts. The entire country would go for a write-in vote. Of course, that could give us President Hillary Clinton and that's got to scare the hell out of the Republicans!

    May 7, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  84. Ram Riva

    In our opinion they work....especially with voters who simply lack common sense.....that do not know how to evaluate the facts that each particular case has....they simply follow the crowd and adopt...as their own....their favorite broadcaster point of view...

    May 7, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  85. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Whether we like them or not, negatives ads are the only effective way of swinging voters from one party/person to another.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  86. H.R

    If you try muting those negative ads then it won't effect you at all. Try it, it works. When Romney spent all of the money on terrible ads in the primary and won, then they all came back licking his ... like nothing happened. The truth of the matter is the Religious right tells them when to breath and for how long. The guy told Romney in no uncertain terms that he would never have a Gay person working for him and Romney bowed down.
    Romney probably didn't want him in his party anyway but didn't have guts enough to say it.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  87. Ram Riva

    one more thing....if a lie gets repeated enough times by a large number of people.....it becomes truth in the eyes of the ignorant....and since most voters don't know all the facts....it becomes the majority that adopts the lie as truth....case in point ..... FOX News is an artist in distorting the facts to their convenience....

    May 7, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
  88. Joseph

    The reason negative ads work? The candidates count on being smart enough to find the facts, or stupid enough to buy into lies. There's no question, that in this vast media age of iPhones, iPads, local and national news, face book and twitter people are much more inclined to retrieve accurate reports on what's really happening in our economy,so what we have is a growing organic movement that seeks information on
    it's own and it's evolving like the "Arab Spring" movement...Jp

    May 7, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  89. Allen

    I don't know. I do know that if today’s presumptive politicians were to say thirty years ago what they publicly say now, they would have been laughed off the planet.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  90. Josh from New Orleans

    In our American culture, being nice is a sign of weakness. Negative ads work because you cannot physically fight with your opponent.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  91. Dave - Phx

    Because people who are afraid, ignorant, and hateful, respond to fear mongering, ignorant, and hateful advertisements. American's have clearly shown we are not the brightest bunch anymore.

    May 7, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  92. Charlie 007

    Jack, this one is easy... Who wants to watch a boring fight, the bloodier the fight, the more it stamps the winner as the greatest champ... and so far this year, the biggest mud slinger will prevail.. I am afraid this is the mess our politics has turn into... God help us all! Maybe you should run Jack, i might consider voting for an old man!

    May 7, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  93. Jenna Roseville CA

    Why do negative campaign ads work?

    Negative campaigns only work for low informational voters Jack. I for one don't waste my time on them, I just turn the channel.

    Roseville CA

    May 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  94. Al

    Who says they work? The question is why do politicians think they work. The answer is look at the crop of current politicians running for office. Do you think any would stand a chance against a Teddy Roosevelt (if you are Republican or Independent) or a Franklin Roosevelt (if you are a Democrat)?

    May 7, 2012 at 5:52 pm |
  95. Jim Naples Florida

    Jack, negative campaign ads work because they reflect the mood and creativity of those who created them; namely ultra right wing zealots who have no interest in the truth or the future; just the NOW and their narrow vision of the universe. Thank you Karl Rove!

    May 8, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  96. Bruce in South Dakota

    Jack, I don't think any of it really 'works' anymore, the truth has long since been lost in the noise, and sadly its' gotten to the point where I really don't trust anyone who actually wants the job.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:15 pm |

    It's simple, Jack, it is just human nature to believe the worst about someone. It's why so many innocent people get sent to prison Remember, in this country you are guilty until you can prove your innocence.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  98. Patrick Reynolds

    Americans love gossip

    May 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm |
  99. Bob Melbourne, FL

    It's simple Jack. The total sum of the intelligence in the world is a constant but the population just keeps growing.....

    May 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  100. Bob from Bellmore Long Island, New York

    It's just the centuries old philosophy of divide and conquer being played out in in modern times with modern technology and modern campaign money. What a sad reflection of where we are as a nation.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  101. Thom Richer

    Wasn't aware they did. Nothing turns me off more. Shows little or no character. No platform. No conviction. No respect. No intellect and zero honesty. Why would you vote for a candidate with these flaws? What am I saying? Gingrich openly endorses a "liar." Guess that is a trait he and the Right Wing finds appealing and worthwhile in a president. Maybe Obama should take note and perhaps get more Right Wingers to vote for him. Seriously, though, why in all that is sensible, would you support a candidate that you believe, with all your heart, as Gingrich apparently does, is a "liar?" Pretty scary.

    Thom Richer
    Negaunee, MI

    May 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  102. Tom from Virginia

    negative ads work because ignorance breeds fear and fear breeds ignorance. That's what candidates, parties and super packs count on. By the time it's all over, we won't be voting for the candidate we think can do a better job will be voting against the candidate we think is worse. Even Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum can't say definitively that Mitt Romney is the best candidate for the job. All they're interested in is beating out Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, then hopefully they will get there way

    May 8, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  103. Thinkforyourself, OK

    BECAUSE most people are to lazy to do the research on their own. Had Obama been properly VETTED for the office of President of the United States, HE WOULD NEVER have been elected. Enough TRUTH on Obama to convict him of treason.

    May 8, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  104. Michael, from Smiths, Alabama

    For the same reason that positive ads DON'T work.....illiteracy on the part of the American people to actually research the claims made by the candidates to verify or refute their credibility.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  105. Ben

    It's simple. Because it is easier to criticize the other guy than it is to stick your neck out with your own ideas.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  106. Lupo Tazler

    Negative campaign ads work because Americans will believe anything they see on TV.

    Los Angeles, CA

    May 8, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  107. Vin

    A positive campaign means a candidate might have to commit to doing something. Enough said .. !

    May 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  108. Foucault Peck-Malchiodi

    In 2008 both major party candidates were fresh faces, using Bush's blunders as fodder for their campaigns. Obama is running for re-election this time, providing ammo for his opponents. I doubt the number of negative advertisements was that low in the 2004 election, when Bush was running for a second term.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  109. Ken

    If it's on TV it must be true! So - what does that say about the American electorate?


    South Burlington, VT

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  110. Jayson Rosacia

    as an advertisement maker myself, and a viewer like you, negative ads work because first: its peoples' instinct to listen to GOSSIPS. second, many people are tired of hearing BSs ( sugar coated words ). 3rd, people wants to see fights

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  111. djhtex

    Negative adds work because of the idiots that read, hear and watch them and believe.
    Disgusting isn't it.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  112. Woody from Portland

    Simple answer: The FUD factor (Fear – Uncertainty – Doubt) Every marketing expert will tell you how effective the FUD factor is to sell a position to the general public.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  113. Young Money

    Negative ads work because misery loves company and people love to hate and see people fail rather than succeed
    unfortunately kind of like watching a car crash you dont want to see it but you cant help but look at the bad thats gonna happen!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  114. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    Because misery loves company Jack. When things are going bad, people need something to hate..... something to blame outside of themselves. Negative ads give them the villain they are looking for.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  115. Margot

    They work because, since 9/11, we have become a negative, mean-spirited country. We hate immigrants, Muslims, the un-employed, those without insurance, gays............The list in really long. And, those ads play to those prejudices and anger. When we finally get over ourselves-the ads will quit working. But, right now, they just help us dig our hole deeper......Margot in Washington

    May 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  116. Ray

    Jack it's simple, when you've not done anything of importance in your political career you have to resort to discussing the dirt on the other guy!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  117. Thomas in Philly

    Negative ads work because fear of loss is a greater motivation than desire for gain. We are very greedy country, and the greedier we get, the more fearful we get.

    There are higher motivations. The desire to be great, to be important and to be loved, but the country as a whole has largely lost interest in these things. True, we still want to be great and important as a nation, but without any real interest in being loved for it, those things become just hypocritical nonsense to the rest of the world and we know it.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  118. Jake in Omaha

    Why do negative campaign ads work?

    Because facts are to hard to understand. Why confuse the voter with the true.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  119. Roy Kizzia

    Negative ads appeal to people's fears. If you spend enough money to hammer at those fears hourly on many TV and web channels, people will be more likely to let their fears drive their votes.

    Roy in Oklahoma City, OK

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  120. Elizabeth C Caswell

    Negative ads work because too many people like to believe the worse, and they are too lazy to become informed by reading for themselves, or watching informative television programming.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  121. Weldon Astle

    I think the negative ads work because the Public has gone so long without hearing anything positive that they are foreign to good news. Maybe if they had a female running in the campaigns they would at least have the Motherly words of comfort....Maybe....

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  122. Sandee Edwards

    I tend not to agree that they work. For the people that they do influence, they are easily persuaded individuals. I research the candidates and make my decision based on my findings. It takes a really weak minded individual to be swayed by negative advertisement. These elections have become such a filth fest it is hard to really pay attention and take them seriously.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  123. Faheem

    Negative campaign ads work because we humans are easy to fool. We're a gullible and lazy species: IF IT'S ON TV IT HAS TO BE TRUE RIGHT???? People need to research, but research would require exertion and exertion is just a fancy word for work. RON PAUL 2012!!!!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  124. Andy Saunders

    They work because people are too lazy to research what is really going on. Too many people have been elected because of this. We keep lowering the quality of education and this is the result.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  125. Stephen Kent Ehat

    Okay. So what? You tell the truth about the other guy and it happens to be negative. That's what we want. The truth, positive or negative. But don't lie. It'll bite you.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  126. Al S.

    Why do negatve ads work? Most people react instead of stopping to think.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  127. Antoinette Sellitto/Phila. Pa.

    That's easy. Many people don't take the time to research a candidate's record, they take the easy route and count on ads to educate them. How many check "fact check" to see if they're being told the truth?

    May 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  128. Ray

    Sticks and stones will break my bones but negative ads will always get results!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  129. Gary W. - Cranberry Township, PA

    Look at the target audience, the "average American", where the median IQ is somewhat less than a house plant and believe pretty much anything we hear...the more negative, the better.
    Hell, Jack, why do you think we listen to you?

    May 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  130. Pete in Florida

    They work because so many American voters are biased, racist, misinformed, ignorant, gullible, unintelligent, crazy, misogynistic and/or xenophoblc. And they're the only way someone like Romney can ever hope to be elected President.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  131. Al S. in California

    Why do negative ads work? Most people react instead of stopping to think.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  132. Smith from St. Croix

    Negetive ads works because the people love darkness more than light.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  133. Bob Field Estero Fl.

    Because one half of the Unitrd States population hates the other half.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  134. Bernie of Lowell.

    Ask Karl Rove. I doubt you'll get a straight answer.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  135. Hagan from Kentucky

    When you have a populous as severely under-educated as the American people, you don't exactly have many options; they can't be expected to make an intelligent decision based on facts. They wouldn't recognize the solution to our economic problems (if there is one) if it was shown on their television 24/7, as so many political ads are. This election will not be a question of "Who do you like most?"; rather, one of "Who do you hate least?"

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  136. P. Lewis

    Negative ads work because our electorate is DUMB. They do no research on the candidates,they just react to what the candidates say in these ads, that is dumb. We have 6 months of this – Who is selling ear plugs.

    League City, Tx

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  137. allprocars

    Negative Ads Work Because People Are Dumb

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  138. gary cambra

    Easily swayed and gullible. The sheeple will believe anything. Whatever suits their conscience.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  139. j.torrey1@hotmail.com

    Since only 40 or 50 billionaires are controlling the election, I forcast a total cival war between the rich and the rest of this country within the next 4 years with a totally different constitution as the result.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  140. mike sey, Ottawa

    I never liked soap ads in the 60's either but given enough of them day and night I probably ended up buying the brand they advertised if it was right there in front of me especially if I was dissatisfied that my shirts weren't turning out "whiter than white". At that point, however, Jack, soap didn't work; I needed to buy a new shirt.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  141. Myron

    Because it is embedded in our culture. Its in our journalism. Its in our entrtainment. Its in our sports. Its in our recreation. Its behind our pulpits and definitely in our politics. It is who we are as an American people and thats why it works.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  142. Name*lee baker

    Negative ads in a political campaign work so well in america because we as americans are programed for negative and violence. The two trump anything good every time even when our very existence depends on truth.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  143. Kathy in Woodinville, WA

    That's easy Jack, most people that 'fall' for negative campaign ads have not taken the time to do the required reading and research in order to form their own opinions. I ignore the ads and read up on the issues and candidates that matter to me. Too bad all of that wasted campaign money couldn't go towards helping our economy!

    May 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  144. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    I believe that when someone chooses to go into politics, it is mandatory that they first have a frontal labotomy done. After that, they have no idea what truth or decency is. They become bullies in the school yard and act like a bunch or 8 year olds. The rest of us, being the sheep that we are, just circle the fight and vote for the biggest bully

    May 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  145. Jim Delp

    I think the negative ads work because most people no longer trust their representatives. I think they feel they are just voting for the lesser of two (ot more) evils. And with the economy in such a dire state, its easier to agree with a negative ad than a positive one.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  146. Erik

    One of the biggest reasons the ads are effective is the voters. I strongly believe that it is a combination of blind loyalty such as "I am a Republican" or "I will always be a democrat" instead of voting for a candidate that is best qualified to lead and represent the United States. Lastly, we as voters have become extremely lazy and no longer take the time or responsibility to truly research all the issues that are important to us as individuals and as a nation.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  147. Drew from Portland

    We are a negative nation! 70% percent of the ads portray negative attitudes because 70% of our citizens are no longer positive. There are no positive outlooks for jobs, healthcare, and hell... in our general day to day mood. Walk down the sidewalks and streets of our towns and cities and you are sure to see at least 7 in 10 heads looking down at the ground and no up toward prosperity. Until we see positive messages from the American people, we are unlikely to see them from our leaders. One simple thought comes to mind, "all thought against malice."

    May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  148. Chet from Berkeley Lake, GA

    Negative ads work because these days most Americans find it easier to let SuperPac-funded diatribe fire up our emotions than to make the effort to gather the facts and think critically. Democracy requires work. If we're too lazy to think for ourselves, we may be witnessing the last of American democracy. It's a sad situation.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  149. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    I don't think ads either way influence anyone. I think people know who they are going to vote for now. If not, they are woefully indesisive. Negative ads only fuel your hatred for the other party's candidate making you feel that you are not alone in your feelings.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  150. Bob Powers

    Negative ads work because it's human nature. And Super PACs are people! So, there you go! Simple logic in today's dollars.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  151. Sandra from Texas

    Let's face it, these days most people have the attention span of a gnat and are bored with anything that doesn't scream drama. Although some of us would like campaign commercials that speak to the qualifications of the candidate, most people would tune that out. So, we get the three ring circus of mud slinging which provides us with no real information.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  152. Amar Rao

    Psychologists established long ago that our brains respond much more intensely to negative stimuli than to positive stimuli of equivalent importance. The reason is really quite simple, as there has always been more evolutionary incentive to avoid behaviors that increase the chance of death, than to incentivize behaviors that increase the chance of life. Therefore, we are much more likely to remember, and in turn act on, negative information contained in an attack ad, than positive information contained in a character ad.
    Long Beach, Calif.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  153. Bill in Missouri

    Many in the public has take a "Don't confuse me with the facts" stance. They don't watch mainline news because they might find the truth. The Republicans have managed to brain wash many with the talk radio, and Fox Entertainment news. They just don't want to be confused with the truth.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  154. Eric H.

    This means there is not much accomplishment to be considered for positive ads- plain and simple. The truth with politics is, if there is not much to show that you look good, you might as well make the other guy look worse than you are.

    Eric H
    Aspen, CO

    May 8, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  155. Don

    The wealthy control all aspects of American government and society, to its detriment. Only the wealthy can afford a quality education – that is intentional on the part of the wealthy. The uneducated are much easier to control. Negative ads tap into the worst of human nature and it is similar to the 'sex sells' type targeting of the most degraded of human nature. Also it gets the attention of the uneducated and thus, the gullible. It plays on the fears and bigotry that have been instilled in a far too large section of America, overwhelmingly by Republicans over the course of decades. Power and money led to the ignoring of the perpetrators of 9/11 and invading Iraq instead while Bush/Cheney and Republicans continued to lie to Americans about their motives. They grossly told Americans to fear everything. They have turned a once justly proud nation into that with a reputation of a bunch of gun toting, bully, ignorant wusses who have allowed the nearly complete eroding of civil liberties. That is nearly all due to Republican Supreme Court justices (who surely should be serving time in prison for their votes on the 2000 election and the Citizens United cases), Republican/Tea Party lawmakers, and their followers. The media too often ignore blatant lies and obvious manipulation of facts in campaign ads. If the screenshot ad you show is true, then that is relevant information to educate voters. Voters should pressure lawmakers to overturn the Citizens United case and not allow PACS, SuperPACS or any campaign donations that are not completely transparent. There should be a government database available to the public where voters can search to see if their employers or companies they purchase from have donated to a particular party or candidate.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  156. barbara in NC

    I don't believe negative or positive ads. I do my own research. And all the headlines put forth by the 24/7 chanels? Money-makers/ratings-makers.

    Since no one calls out any politician on blatant lies, even journalism in the 24/7 stuff is nothing but yellow journalism.

    There are a lot of idiots that just believe - they have not evolved and probably never will. You have to learn how to think in this world, and some folks are too lazy to bother.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  157. Eric H.

    This means there is not much accomplishment to be considered for positive ads- plain and simple. The truth with politics is, if there is not much to show that you look good, you might as well make the other guy look worse than you are. And when people become tired and confused, they would rather listen to the "negative" voice of warning than heed to the comforting "positive" announcement of accomplishment.

    Eric H
    Aspen, CO

    May 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  158. Lee Williams, Lecanto, Florida

    All these silly questions don't mean jack. Until our government overturns the supreme court ruling allowing big money to shape our opinions, we're doomed. The majority of our population doesn't know who the speaker of the house is, let alone where a candidate stands on issues. Let Super pacs brain wash them 24/7 and they think they're the most knowledgable votors in the world, if they could just bother to go to the polls. Then the folks that have voted all their lives are finding if they don't furnish new proof of who they are, they can no longer vote. Within a short time we'll need to have good folks like Jimmy Carter overseeing our corrupt elections. Does Florida and Ohio ring a bell.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  159. arizona7

    People watch "Dancing with Stars". "American Idol", & know everybody on those programs... But vast segment of population does NOT want to know WHO RUNS governments that they complain about.

    May 8, 2012 at 4:56 pm |