Going negative

by Aaron Wherry

The Globe editorial board, while allowing that that Conservatives take “some liberties by accusing Mr. Mulcair of wanting a carbon tax,” deems the latest Conservative attack ad “mostly fair.” Indeed, the editors seem to fret that viewers won’t pay it enough attention.

Earlier this year, Sadie Dingfelder reviewed the latest research on political advertising in April and NPR weighed the evidence that attack ads work.

Most people, of course, can recall nasty ad campaigns that shaped an election’s outcome. Campaigns such as the Willie Horton ad in 1988, the swift boat ads in 2004 or the intense negativity in the early GOP primaries this year all suggest that negative ads are powerful.

But empirical studies, which seek to measure the effectiveness of ads across campaigns, suggest that these campaigns may be most effective when voters are unfamiliar with a candidate — which won’t happen this fall. When voters know a candidate fairly well, the ads don’t usually do much.

Of course, however effective, negative advertising will always be subject to criticism.




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Going negative

  1. Why do negative ads work for the Conservatives and not the other parties?

    It`s quite simple. They tell the truth in their ads.Martin was gearing up for— lying Harper-agenda— ads.Dion would have given us all a new carbon tax.Ignatieff was a bumbling fool.Mulcair thinks the oil business is a disease.

    The losers in the Liberal Party who promoted the —soldiers in the streets—ads are still there. When will they ever learn?

    • Or ocnversely, the people who are willing to believe anything the conservatives tell them is slightly higher than for other parties.

      • There appears to be a large group of LIDS ( Liberals in Denial ) who believe that the road back to power involves accusing those Canadians who vote Conservative as being somehow not as enlightened, not as intelligent as liberals.
        It`s kind of the way Ignatieff thought of Canadians when he chose to become their leader.—guarantees more Conservative governments.

        • Perhaps the tactic is faulty. Perhaps we should try logic.

        • English philosopher, John Stuart Mill: “Not all conservatives are stupid people, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

          • Well, if John Stuart Mill said so, in the 19th century in reference to another country, it most certainly must be true today regarding Canada.
            And there’s certainly nothing arrogant or presumptuous about Liberal and Dipper supporters constantly telling themselves and anyone within earshot that they’re intellectually superior to conservatives.
            It must be so frustrating for Liberals and Dippers — knowing that they are innately superior to everyone else, yet having these great unwashed groundlings who form the Canadian electorate not appreciate that innate superiority.

          • English philosopher, John Stuart Mill: “Not all conservatives are stupid people, but most stupid people are conservatives.”

          • Last I checked, 1/2 of those “unwashed groundlings” voted for one or the other of those two parties.

          • Well, of course those unwashed groundlings who vote NDP and Liberal are the smart, enlightened ones, whereas those ones who vote Conservative are benighted and stupid, right?

        • @EmilyOne was actually alive when he said it, so it’s not surprising she thinks it’s still relevant.

      • @GFMD: as evidenced by the (utterly wrong) Con talking point in Andrew’s own comment: “Mulcair thinks the oil business is a disease.”

  2. Is Brian Lee Crowley still on the Globe editorial board ?
    But I guess it doesn’t really matter, does it ?

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