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Rasmussen: Most Voters Say Negative TV Ads Backfire on Candidates

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Rasmussen Reports released the results of a new survey Thursday that found that a majority of respondents (56%) say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who uses negative attack ads against his or her election rival(s). Further, 60 percent see a major disparity between TV ads that attack opposing candidates than promote the candidacy of the person running for office.

The results of the survey have remained relatively unchanged over the last few years. Overall, 55 percent of respondents believe it is possible for a candidate to win an election without going negative, while only 30 percent disagree. Only 10 percent of respondents say negative campaign ads increase the likelihood that they will vote for a candidate, while 29 percent say negative ads do not affect their voting behavior at all.

Other findings worth mentioning:

  • Rasmussen reports that the number of Americans who believe that a candidate can win without going negative has run as high as 64% in 2010.
  • 58% of respondents say they pay close attention to political advertisements running on television; only 19 percent said they follow them “Very Closely.”
  • 41% are not paying close attention to these ads.
  • 22% think most political ads promote the candidate who is paying for it; 18% are undecided.

The poll itself seemed to focus specifically on ads that come from campaigns rather than ads that might be paid for by a political action committee in favor or in opposition of a candidate. Therefore, it is unclear whether or not many of these voters might associate an attack ad from a Super PAC with the campaign of a candidate that PAC supports or can discern who is actually paying for the ad.

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Photo Credit: Liudmila Pleshkun / shutterstock.com

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138 comments
Jane Huss
Jane Huss

Why is Trump winning the majority of republicans? His whole campaign is negative with fear tactics!

Steve Hanson
Steve Hanson

agree. People don't want to hear political ads anyway.

Wayne Mulligan
Wayne Mulligan

Agree but people are stupid. Fall for the bs. Also like yo be offensive especially when the person isn't there.

Audrey Hamilton
Audrey Hamilton

ObamaClinton experiences: IRS Scandal Bengazi scandal Email server hidden Syria ISIS IRAN Rise Russia Reset to Rise-takes Ukraine Unstable Middle East Taliban is Back Vet Admin scandal Secret Service Scandal Not helping BLMatter Drugs Rise murders rise Immigration debacle Helping Sanctuary Cities host criminals ETC. End of Progressive Era! Anyone but DemoRats.! GOP for 2016.

Ronnie Head
Ronnie Head

Catch 22. If facts are negative about your candidate and you are not allowed to bring them out that is stupidity. For example Hillary still being investigated by FBI but her opponents agreed not to bring it up cause negative for the party. Think public should have right to filter what is said.

Charles K. Summers
Charles K. Summers

Yes it is possible -- but it would require people to actually investigate what is said -- to determine whether it is a lie or not. So much easier for people to just listen to what agrees with their own biases and inflamations of those biases.

Jill Hall
Jill Hall

Agree. I won't vote for someone if they run negative, untrue ads. Leaves a lot of people out.

Jac Mandino
Jac Mandino

Getting truths out is not negative ! It's a important job to lead the USA . We have the right to know everything about the person we vote for .

Nancy Kelley
Nancy Kelley

They obviously didn't poll Trump supporters.

Sanford Heath
Sanford Heath

Yes. It appalls me to see the candidate accuse each other of allsorts of wrong doing then attack each other at a personal level then smile and pat each other on the back like old friends

Michael Davidson
Michael Davidson

Except that a lot of people feel saying the negative truth about someone is "going negative. Hillary has accused Bernie of thise for bringing up her Iran vote

Holly Stowe
Holly Stowe

We don't want candidates to even talk about other candidates unless it is to compare policies. We want to know what the candidates policies are, what their ideas are for this country and what path they might take us down.

Nicholas Jay
Nicholas Jay

Negative ads are how you convert supporters to zealots. They stoke the emotions of society. I think the results are too intangible to identify from polling initial reactions.

Carolyn R Thornton
Carolyn R Thornton

They backfire with me. I won't vote for anyone who can't tell me about themselves and not the "other" candidate.

Jennifer Massey Tripp
Jennifer Massey Tripp

I've said for years that I'll vote for any candidate who does not attack his/her opponents. I have yet to find one.

Merl Miller
Merl Miller

Negative ads fear mongering. We used to be a nation of doers and now we are a nation of whiners. Negative ads appeal to whiners.

Merl Miller
Merl Miller

Republicans are about 32% of the electorate. Last poll says he has about 38%. This about 10% of the electorate. Take any group you want an 10% of them are total nutcases.

Connie Olson
Connie Olson

If that was true we wouldn't be stuck k with a Republican house and Senate

Dave Sebesta
Dave Sebesta

TRY THIS ON FOR SIZE MR KENISTON VETERAN OF AMERICA PARTY (VPA) Is FOR Constitutional change, get back to the basics of the CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA look MR KENISTON UP ON THE WEB

James L. Butler
James L. Butler

They have not proved it with their votes. I believe the missing details is the poll respondents are saying negative campaigns do not change their party-line support. A democrat running in a heavy democratic district does not have to be negative to win. He doesn't have to campaign period.

Libby Koch
Libby Koch

I just zap to another channel when an irritating snarky ad comes on, no matter who it's for.

Erva Mercer
Erva Mercer

Making fun of or demeaning someone isn't very flattering nor does it show good character.

Lenny Bune
Lenny Bune

It would be if we all voted Libertarian. What then Angelique? They'd be murdered by the CIA. They'll shut this machine down. You just need to vote for them.

Lenny Bune
Lenny Bune

If Trump is a barometer here, then no. But Libertarians can be truthful and point out all the negative in the Blue and Red parties. It's way too easy.

Chuck Hoffert
Chuck Hoffert

Negativity begets negativity. This is why there is so much divisiveness in this country..

Sonny Duncan
Sonny Duncan

I listen to how they are going to make it better for average every day people otherwise I tune them out.

Jeffrey Korn
Jeffrey Korn

If you do not vote, you can not complain!

Andrew Barendregt
Andrew Barendregt

I disagree, in my experience, I hear and see the most talking points from negative ads repeated in political discussions, and sometimes "news media" coverage from the biased networks. People actually believe these ads and repeat their content.

Elizabeth H. Jenkins
Elizabeth H. Jenkins

I can only speak for me and I will not vote for any candidate who tears others apart.

Janet Stone
Janet Stone

I really don't like criticism, I'd much rather hear about how they will solve todays issues.

Tom Stepp
Tom Stepp

Honestly I strongly believe that we shouldn't pay anyone in office. That would be a good start of change.

James Morton
James Morton

I agree. All the mudslinging does is get you dirty also. Just like wrestling with a pig you both get muddy and the pig enjoys it. Not a good place to be when you are trying to impress people.

Gilbert Anderson Jr.
Gilbert Anderson Jr.

I don't understand why all candidates, for both major parties, seem to believe they can't run a candidate without "mudslinging". Tell me specifically what you are going to do to make things better. I don't care at all what you think about the other candidate or the incumbent!

Kaysie Cox
Kaysie Cox

Nobody likes a bully. Not even adults.