Oct 11, 2010 6:02 PM by Stacy Neumann

Negative Ads Frustrate Voters

There's less than a month to go before the elections and campaigns are trotting out the attack ads in larger numbers.  Colorado Springs voters say their tone is unmistakable. 

"It seems like people are pretty vicious and pretty competitive in what they are trying to say," said David Zazzaro.

The voters in one downtown restaurant told us that they try to ignore the negative campaigning, if they can.

Elizabeth Olmstead said, "I get tired of them so I turn off the TV or I don't read them when they come in the mail."

Though voters say they igore the ads, political pundits say the numbers show something else.  Dr. Josh Dunn, associate professor of political science at UCCS, says negative ads work.  He told us, "They're very unlikely to improve your support or generate support for the candidate launching the attack ad...but they do depress the turnout for the opponent."

Dunn went on to say that the attack ads usually contain more content.  He says, even if voters believe those ads are misleading or false, it can prompt voters to look at the issues a little more closely.  He says that serves an important function in an election. 

Dunn said, "We like to think of ourselves as nice people.  We don't routinely run around attacking people but this is just the part of the rough and tumble functioning and effective democracy."

It means the attack ads won't be disappearing anytime soon.  As a matter of fact, Dunn says they may become more prominent as the races get more competitive.



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