Does Attack Advertising Demobilize the Electorate?

Stephen Ansolabehere, Shanto Iyengar, Adam Simon, Nicholas Valentino
1994 American Political Science Review  
We address the effects of negative campaign advertising on turnout. Using a unique experimental design in which advertising tone is manipulated within the identical audiovisual context, we find that exposure to negative advertisements dropped intentions to vote by 5%. We then replicate this result through an aggregate-level analysis of turnout and campaign tone in the 1992 Senate elections. Finally, we show that the demobilizing effects of negative campaigns are accompanied by a weakened sense
more » ... f political efficacy. Voters who watch negative advertisements become more cynical about the responsiveness of public officials and the electoral process.
doi:10.2307/2082710 fatcat:cslprcf5draw7h6nm4sut6vite