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.