Do negative political ads really work? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Do negative political ads really work?


WATERLOO (KWWL) -- For the past couple of weeks they have found their way into every commercial break. Negative political ads have taken over the air waves.

Political mudslinging is not a new concept. In fact, in the 1828 presidential race, Andrew Jackson's opposition called him a murderer and a cannibal and even went as far as to call his wife a prostitute. No politician has gone that far in today's races, but their ads aren't winning many fans either.

"Maybe there's an air of truth to each one, but they're just saying what everybody wants to hear," said Waterloo resident, Julia Baldwin.

"They've gone so negative on each side it's hard to... I just can't buy into either extreme," said Joel Heiple of Waterloo.

To find out what impact these ads have on the public we talked with Assistant Political Science Professor at UNI, Justin Holmes.

Holmes says these type of ads are part of a candidate's final push.

"Candidates recognize that people don't particularly like negative ads so they do want to hold them back often times. Sometimes they're a trump card sort of thing where they really have an over the top thing right at the last minute that they might hold out just incase they really need it, " said Holmes.

Holmes also says that political ads are one of the worst places to get information regarding a candidate.

"In general, when we fact check these you don't find a lot of accuracy in many of the claims. Negative ads aren't any worse than positive ads in that regard. People tend to inflate their own records in positive ads," said Holmes.

Holmes goes on to says that negative ads are effective to a point by possibly influencing undecided voters, but they rarely change the mind of hard core supporters.

Online Reporter: John Wilmer

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