A new study by the Wesleyan Media Project has determined that campaign ads are overwhelmingly more negative today than they were in 2008.
According to the report, 70 per cent of campaign ads from this year’s presidential race have been negative.
Check out the chart:
Photo: Wesleyan Media Project
The survey defines a negative ad as any ad that features the opponent’s name and takes into consideration all presidential advertising on broadcast and national cable TV. While the definition is somewhat broad, the fact that the numbers went from 9 per cent in 2008 to 70 per cent in 2012 is still astonishing.
So what’s behind the spike?
“One reason the campaign has been so negative is the skyrocketing involvement of interest groups, who have increased their activity by 1,100 per cent over four years ago” said Erika Franklin Fowler, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, in statement. “But we cannot attribute the negativity solely to outside groups. Even the candidates’ own campaigns have taken a dramatic negative turn.”
As the above chart shows, 86 per cent of ads coming from interest groups were negative, compared to about half of ads from the campaigns themselves.
Karl Rove’s Super PAC Crossroads GPS leads all interest groups with a whopping $12.6 million spent on ads. Second place goes to the conservative Super PAC Americans for Prosperity — $6.9 million — with the Democratic National Committee coming in third — $6.1 million.
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