Spending on political advertising is setting records in the midterm elections. But there is evidence that negative messages can dissuade voters from voting.
As the 2022 midterm elections approach, political attacks in campaign ads are on the rise.
In November, Rep. Paul Gosar shared an animated animated video showing him physically attacking Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Joe Biden.
That same month, Rep. Ilhan Omar called his Republican colleague, Rep. Lauren Boebert. clown and prejudice on Twitter. Even the official White House Twitter account has been involved in politically divisive actions, criticizing Republican lawmakers for criticizing paycheck protection programs after several Republicans were forgiven loans in August 2022. when it made the headlines recently.
Non-civilian messages by politicians have become increasingly common over the past decade. In an increasingly polarized political environment, political attacks are a daily occurrence, with voters annoyed he plans to vote before Election Day in November.
But that doesn’t mean that this kind of advertising and personal attacks actually work.
I study political marketing and as a former election administrator and political consultant I have seen politicians directly use non-civilian strategies in hopes of getting elected. research suggests that highly polarized communication can become less persuasive and even backfire in the upcoming midterm elections, hurting candidates’ chances.
Impact of political attack ads
My research shows that political ads and language actually make people feel negative. Just asking voters to think about politics is enough to piss them off. This negativity is amplified when the ad explicitly attacks opposing candidates.
There is also evidence that this anger carries over to voting behaviour. Data from US elections from 2000 to 2012 show that not only are negative political TV commercials making people less likely to vote for the politicians they attack, they are generally less likely to vote. is also lower.
However, politicians tend to use negative and less biased advertising on social media compared to advertising on TV. This may be because social media attracts a smaller, more targeted audience, and candidates are probably fearful that this kind of tactic could demobilize their supporters. There is
Rise of Polarization
There are several factors that help explain why attacks on political movements and opposition groups have become more toxic in recent years.
First of all, voters are more emotional and angry than ever before. This sentiment towards politics is associated with the normalcy of anger in our daily lives and the heightened political competition such as the close race for the presidential election.
Democrats and Republicans in the United States also interact less and less. This social polarization comes as political identity becomes more important than ever to voters. Being a Democrat or Republican is a core part of who a voter is, shaping both political decisions like who to vote for and non-political decisions like who to hang out with .
Given these factors, conversations about politics are increasingly among people who already agree on political issues.
Politicians such as former President Donald Trump seem to be capitalizing on the fact that they are preaching to the chorus, so to speak, and using increasingly polarizing language to attack the other side. is.
Whether or not language is polarized is a subjective question, but my research and that of others have focused on how negative political messages are and how extreme the messages are. rice field.
The Declining Power of Polarized Messaging
There is some evidence that voters may be weary of negative political communication flooding their screens.
Using data from the 2016 U.S. presidential election, my collaborators and I found that more polarized political advertising messages hurt candidates in polls, making voters talk less about them. discovered to do
Specifically, we found that, at least in the context of recent presidential elections, voters prefer more moderate and consistent messages in political ads. This study used text analysis techniques. This allowed us to score each ad on how polarizing the message was and how consistent the message was for the candidate.
A polarizing message undermines a candidate’s electoral potential especially if it doesn’t fit the candidate’s brand—that is, for politicians who typically try to go to the extremes of moderation.
Towards the 2022 Midterm Elections
With the midterm elections scheduled for November 2022, all seats in the House of Representatives and about a third of the seats in the Senate are in contest, so much is at stake. His record US$8.9 billion in political advertising spending is expected this midterm election season.
If the dominant tone of this message is toxic, political campaigns run the risk of stealing the attention of a growing number of voters.
My research shows that there are emerging consequences of polarized communication that can hurt candidates in polls. These insights could encourage political campaigns to test different advertising strategies during this medium term, possibly stifling negative perceptions.
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Please read the original article.
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