Negative campaign ads affect overall voter turnout

Political Science professors say we may not like them but political ads work in their own way

In our Facebook Story of the Day, viewers wanted to know why negative political campaign ads are so popular.

Political science professors at Darton College say despite voters saying they don't like negative ads, they do work by either influencing people to not vote for a candidate or by lowering overall turnout.

"They work by suppressing the voter turnout for the opponent, so once one does it, then if the other one doesn't do it, then their voter turnout isn't enough," says Political Science Professor Roger Marietta, also an Albany City Commissioner.

Dr. Sarah Kuck, also a political science professor at Darton, says the "law of politics" indicate that if a negative campaign is run against a candidate, that candidate has to respond.

"You have to once they're initiated you have to respond," she says. "If you just let it go then the public assumes whatever the negative ad is saying is true so it kind of perpetuates the beast."

The professors say they encourage voters to do their own research about a candidate: They say voters should find out what is just a campaign trick compared to the truth. Kuck says material in negative campaign ads is often overblown and taken out of context.