Name-calling and low blows may be popular when it comes to shows like Jersey Shore and Teen Mom, but these tactics aren’t as effective when they’re used to pick the next President of the United States.
It seems that in each state that when a candidate leads in the polls, negative advertisements, especially on television, are sure to follow.
For example, when former Speaker Newt Gingrich was in the lead in the time before the Iowa caucuses, fellow presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney blasted him in several commercials. Romney eventually won the first in the nation caucuses.
This might not work to Romney’s advantage, according to a recent USA TODAY story.
His often negative approach to advertising could cause audiences to not pay attention to the positive ads he produces, said Dan Schnur, who headed John McCain’s 2000 campaign and is now director of the Jesse M. Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California.
Despite Romney’s battle plan, many college students say their votes are not influenced by political advertisements at all, especially those that include swipes at the opposite party or presidential candidate.
“I have difficulty allowing myself to be swayed by political advertisements simply because they are advertisements; they are, by nature, biased,” said Hannah Weinberger, a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
She went on to say she wants to vote for a candidate who proves he or she is the one more suited for the job, not the one who is best at throwing insults at another.
“I am not impressed with the recent trend in political advertising of denigrating an opponent as proof of one’s own ability to lead,” she said. “I don’t want to vote for the lesser of two evils.”
The only way to make the right decision is to take the initiative and do your research, said other students.
“All of these ads were made to make the candidate look exactly as they and their public relations team wants them to look to the voters,” said Liz Miller, a sophomore at Wilmington College of Ohio. “If an individual wants to make their vote count, they have to do their own research and determine where the candidate actually stand on all of the issues, not only the issues that they want you to see.”
Nick Keesey, a freshman at Pennsylvania State University, said he agrees.
“Political ads help raise awareness to issues, but I have to take them with a grain of salt. No matter which party the ad is for or against, it is just that — an ad… Research had to be done in order to make an educated decision on which candidate to vote for in the primaries.”
Keesey, a democrat, said even though he supports President Obama, he still researches GOP candidates.
“I still do research on other parties because it is important to know and understand whom it is that is running for office, even if they are not in your favorite political party,” he said. “So, you could say republican ads still have an effect on me, regardless of whether it is attacking a democrat [or another republican.]”
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