Well, folks, it’s been nearly six weeks. Six weeks of sources, questions, hypotheses, blog posts, and searching. I’m sure that at some point during the past 40 days each of us felt sort of like we were drowning in sources and information like this…
However, I’m proud to say that we’ve finally surfaced. We’ve gotten our bearings and we’re ready to begin articulating our own arguments. Congratulations, everyone. I’m quite proud of us. Now, allow me to introduce you to some of my new friends who helped guide me through this process…
1.) “8 Election Myths You Probably Believe” -cracked.com.
Myth #7: “Campaign Ads Run Mindless Attack Ads Instead of Giving Us Substance.” is what started this whole endeavor. The myth claims that people reject negativity because they believe it is disdainful and uncivil. The authors of this article, however, counter-argue that negative ads actually grip our attention and spur us onto political engagement. This claim is the basis of my argument.
2.) “The Moderating Influence of Political Involvement on Voters’ Attitudes Toward Attack Ads.” – George W. Stone, Jeffrey G. Blodgett, Japhet Nkonge and Kathryn T. Cort (Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice).
The authors of this article stated that the aim of their study was to determine the productivity of attack ads in reaching different types of political audiences. Ultimately, the authors of this article found that those who are not as politically involved viewed the negative ads as more credible, since they pointed out the weaknesses of one candidate, while those who were highly politically involved were more skeptical. This article ultimately reinforced the idea that negative ads motivate people, however, it also inspired me to examine how political sophistication plays a role in one’s perception of these negative ads.
According to the authors’ conclusions in this book, “negative adverts also work better than positive ones” by electrifying each candidate’s partisan base, “so attacking has become nearly universal.” This book motivated me to include partisan bias as a heuristic and determiner for my hypothesis along with political involvement/sophistication.
4.) “Beyond Negativity: The Effects of Incivility on the Electorate.” – Deborah Jordan Brooks and John G. Geer (American Journal of Political Science).
This study surveyed a national sample of adults who recorded their responses to a series campaign ads, which the authors of this study produced These ads were based off of real campaign ads. These replications were designed to test three dimensions of campaign advertisements. Ultimately, the results of this study that agreed with my previous findings by declaring, “those least-liked, least-valued kinds of messages may modestly stimulate two things that we tend to care a great deal about as a society: political interest and improving likelihood to vote.”
5.) “Negative Political Advertising and Voting Intent: The Role of Involvement and Alternative Information Sources.” -Ronald J. Faber, Albert R. Tims, and Kay G. Schmitt (Journal of Advertising).
Faber, Tims, and Schmitt concluded that negative ads impact various types of voters in a multitude of ways. Therefore, it is important to remember the scope in which these conclusions are being discussed. I really enjoyed this article because it assured me that my determiners were building on each other to create a conversation that is aimed at specific demographics of the electorate.
6.)”Examining the Possible Corrosive Impact of Negative Advertising on Citizens’ Attitudes toward Politics.” – Robert A. Jackson, Jeffery J. Mondak, and Robert Huckfeldt (Political Research Quarterly).
The authors employed data indicators from the 2002 WiscAds Project and from the 2002 Exercising Citizenship in American Democracy Survey to determine both ad exposure and ad tone as perceived by nearly 2,00 random participants from two national surveys both pre-election and post-election. This article didn’t focus on voter turnout, however, it did put things into perspective for me. It merely gave me new information about ad tone and ad exposure, which will ultimately make me a more informed researcher.
7.) The Persuasive Power of Campaign Advertising. – Travis N. Ridout and Michael M. Franz.
This book specifically focused on the emotional appeals made in attack ads on television. Rather than using age, education, political sophistication, or partisan bias as determiners, this book focused on how the medium through which these negative ads were conveyed mobilized voters. This also helped narrow the focus of my study.
8.) “Do Negative Campaigns Mobilize or Suppress Turnout? Clarifying the Relationship between Negativity and Participation” – Kim Fridkin Kahn and Patrick J. Kenney (The American Political Science Review).
This article is basically the perfect summary of my hypothesis. It concludes that partisan voters or those who are more politically sophisticated are likely to go to the polls no matter what. However, Independents and those who are not as politically sophisticated are more likely to be motivated to vote based on the negative ads that instantly grab their attention.
So, that’s who I’ve met, what I’ve learned, and where I am. I’m excited to begin organizing all of this into an argument of my own. I can’t wait to see what each of you has developed… Now, just hang in there. We’re really close to finishing the race.