Voters say they hate them.
Candidates often promise not to use them.
But yet, they have invaded our airwaves, flooded our phone lines, and have snuck into our homes with the rest of the mail. Almost everyone is disgusted by it. The candidates themselves complain that it distracts voters from the issues.
Why, then, does negative campaigning continue?
Some would say, because negative advertisements have been a fixture of political campaigning for more than 200 years. Others believe voters are swayed just as much by their emotional reaction as by their reason. Over the years, the tactics have changed as shrewd analysts and campaign managers have designed ways to maximize the impact of a message by taking the focus off of the issues at hand and giving us instead an irrational dislike for the targeted candidate. But despite the objections of voters and the "don't-blame-me" positions candidates often try to take, the ads likely aren't going anywhere.
While part of the controversy lies in the definition of a "negative" ad. Some candidates will view any ad that mentions the opponent as an attack, while others might say that an ad that points out where each candidate stands isn't necessarily negative. And, it has also been argued that a candidate must stoop just as low as his opponent with the negative ads.
They say that negative ads work only in two situations; when you are incredibly desperate or when you're incredibly close to the end.
In my opinion, negativity is just that; negativity. Like they say “if it walks like a duck, talks like a duck, then more than likely it’s a duck”. It’s as easy as that, I often find that we as the people are almost as responsible as those that are stooping to these levels. Yes, this has been a fixture for more than 200 years, but when does it stop?