Interview #15 – Going Negative: Causes and Consequences of Attack Politics

Nai pic

Alessandro Nai

In this interview POP discusses with Alessandro Nai about the causes and consequences of negative campaigning as well as the links with populism and attack politics.

Alessandro Nai is Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney, and Assistant Professor of Political Communication and Journalism at the Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR, University of Amsterdam) from August 2017 onwards. His personal research agenda is on electoral behavior, political psychology, direct democracy, and campaigning effects. His work appeared in peer-review journals such as Political Psychology, European Journal of Political Research, Electoral Studies and the Journal of Political Marketing. He recently published New Perspectives on Negative Campaigning: Why Attack Politics Matters (with Annemarie S. Walter, ECPR Press, 2015) and Election Watchdogs: Transparency, Accountability and Integrity (with Pippa Norris, Oxford University Press, 2017).

Obama-Romney1) Let’s start by defining the topic of this interview. What is exactly the phenomenon you call ‘negative campaigning’?

When introducing the subject, I usually show my students a couple of magazine covers. On the first one Obama and Romney face off on a baseball diamond, the first holding a spiked bat and the latter ready to throw a grenade. On the second one the same two candidates face off on a boxing ring and exchange niceties (not). More seriously, the many competing definitions share a core idea: going “negative” against your rivals implies attacking them (on their program, values, policy propositions, record, character, and so on) instead of advocating your own strengths and ideas.1 Some scholars introduce a normative component and focus on the use of “uncivil” or “nasty” attacks2 – although the bulk of research usually relies on a normatively neutral definition that stresses the direction of a negative message as simply being against the rivals. Recent research also differentiates between issue-based and person-based attacks, which have been shown to have potentially diverging causes and effects. To be precise, it would thus be ideal to refer to the use of character/issue attacks, which determines a negative valence of campaign messages. The use of such messages by parties and candidates is referred to as “negative campaigning” or “negativity”. In the following lines I will sometimes use these concepts as interchangeable, to avoid excessive repetitions.Obama_Baseball

2) Why and under which conditions does a political actor normally decide to ‘go negative’?

The use of negative messages is usually seen as a strategic one. Parties and candidates have to assess trade-off between potential benefits and costs when deciding whether to attack or not. On the benefits side, political actors go negative to attract undecided voters or to diminish positive feelings for their rivals, thus increasing indirectly their popular support. On the costs side, running excessively negative campaigns is considered to be a potentially dangerous strategy, as attacks are unpopular and generally disliked by the public. Thus, the risk exists that the attacks will “backlash” and generate negative feelings toward the attacker instead of the target.3
Taking this trade-off into account, several strategic elements come into play when deciding whether or not to run a negative campaign. First, the prospect of electoral failure has been shown to trigger incentives for attack politics4; actors lagging in the polls have little to lose – and much to gain – from a negative strategy, and are therefore more willing to bear the risk of a backlash effect. Similarly, incumbents have more reasons to go “positive” and support their record (as, quite simply, they usually have a record to defend) whereas challengers have more incentives to attack their rivals.5 Third, reasons to run a negative campaign increase as Election Day draws near.6 Parties and candidates run campaigns to inform voters about the validity of their propositions, which should strategically come first; a risky strategy, negative campaigning is less likely to backfire when the sponsor is considered as credible in the eyes of the voter.

However, the decision to go negative on the rivals cannot be purely a strategic one. And, indeed, some evidence exists that the personal characteristics of candidates might be related to their use of attack politics. For instance, several studies report that female candidates are less likely to use negative messages against their rivals. Female candidates that go negative on their opponents may find themselves acting at odds with social stereotypes and shared expectation of their behavior as kind, helpful and sympathetic agents, with potential negative consequences for their ratings.7

Perhaps even more interestingly, some underlying psychological dispositions can lead to a stronger use of negative messages. Since June 2016 I have been gathering expert data about the use of negative messages by parties and candidates in elections worldwide.8 In the data, a series of variables allows me to measure the candidates’ “public personas” via a set of personality traits: the five “classic” traits (Big Five9) and the three darker or “socially malevolent” traits (Dark Triad10). There is a growing literature showing that these traits, relatively stable over time11, have quite strong effects on attitudes and behaviors.12 And, indeed, my comparative data shows, even controlling for all usual suspects (including ideology, gender, incumbency status, percentage of popular support, and election type), that personality seems to matter quite a lot: the use of negative messages is significantly and substantially stronger for candidates that score high in narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism, and weaker for candidates qualified as agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable. We are currently finalizing a few articles on the matter, which should hopefully be available in the upcoming months.

3) Why negative campaigning is often anonymous and does not contain any explicit endorsement by political actors?

Going back to the idea that the use of negative messages comes from strategic considerations, it is relatively intuitive to see why anonymity can be attractive: anonymity is likely to unbound the attacker from potential backlash effects.13 If the sponsor of the message cannot be identified directly, it is hard to hold it accountable. In such a case the attack has, in the worst scenario, no effect on the target; in the best possible scenario, the attack is effective to lower evaluations for the target, at zero costs for the sponsor. Jackpot. The US has, in the past decade, witnessed an incredible rise of anonymous campaign ads. Fostered by legislative changes such as the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act or the 2010 “Citizens United”, actors and lobbies independent from the candidates they support now invest massive amounts of money in the race. And, unsurprisingly, those ads are most of the time quite negative. Although examples abound, a particularly symptomatic one is the 2016 anti-Trump ad sponsored by Citizen Super Pac, which basically compared the GOP candidate to Hitler (note, at the end of the ad, the very subtle – sic! – reference to WW2 symbolism formed by four crossed Ts) 4. Quite interestingly, this trend exists also in Swiss direct democracy: observing the ads published in the Swiss press before all direct democratic voted held between 1999 and 2005, we found that ceteris paribus ads that contained no explicit endorsement were significantly and substantially more likely to contain one or more attacks towards the rivals.15

4) Would you say that populist political actors are more likely to ‘go negative’ compared to non-populist ones?

Now, that’s an extremely topical question! It seems to me that the current gloom about the state of democracy worldwide comes from two separate sets of claims: on the one hand, the idea that populist and anti-establishment movements are a growing force everywhere, shaking the status quo among traditional elites and even, in a few cases, wishing to overthrow the natural democratic order. On the other hand, the idea that electoral campaigns are overall a nasty business, and that insults, threats, and emotional advertising intended to arouse fear and anxiety are the new normal. Certainly we’ve had a fair share of examples in the past months that seem to support both claims – just ask Donald, Nigel, Geert or Marine how they feel about it. But are those claims necessarily related? In other terms, should we equate contemporary populist campaigns with the worst examples of attack politics and fear-arousing messages? Are populists really aggressive, disrespectful, and fear-mongers?

The best answer is that we have to be careful in drawing such a simplistic conclusion, for two reasons – one theoretical and one empirical. First, theoretically, isolating what “populism” is might not be an easy task – something we might almost forget given the increasing number of scholars with newly found expertise on the topic. If we simplify quite a bit, the two classical ways to study populism define it either as an ideology16, a feature defining the nature itself of parties and candidates, or as a communication style17. In the second case, what matters is not the nature of the actor as populist or not but rather the content of its political communication. Populism thus becomes “a communication frame that appeals to and identifies with the people, and pretends to speak in their name”18. Research following this second tradition has focused on different components of populist communication, such as the use of appeals to “the people”, “the nation”, “the country” and so forth, sometimes coupled with a nativist message; populist communication also makes use of anti-establishment and overtly anti-elites rhetoric, a differentiation between the out-of-touch elites and the “simple” citizens; finally, populist communication might also use a simple and colloquial style, often nothing more than a vaguely hidden form of anti-intellectualism. Quite simply, the complexity of defining and isolating what “populism” might be related to – an ideology? Which one? A communication strategy? Based on which rhetoric elements? – pleads for caution against tabloid-style conclusions. Is a wave of aggressive populists submerging Europe? Similar headlines appear daily in our news feeds, but often “populism” is too vaguely defined for those contributions to provide any meaningful insights. Second, empirically, the relationship between populist communication and the use of negative campaign techniques might be more complex than expected. The comparative data I was mentioning beforehand shows a few interesting trends. Looking at the communication style of candidates worldwide (N=75), preliminary analyses show that anti-establishment rhetoric is associated with negative campaigning, personal attacks, and fear appeals. On the other hand, however, “empty” populist messages based on appeals to “the people” are less likely to be associated with negative messages; these appeals are intended to generate an inwards positive sense of belonging to a community19, with which the use of negative campaigning targeted outwards (towards the rivals, the out-group) might be at odds. In short: some forms of populist communication are related to a stronger negativity, while other forms are not. Again, this pleads for caution, and against the excessively simplistic image of “aggressive populists”.

5) Has there been an increasing use of negative campaigning over time or it can be considered as a strategic type of political campaign which always existed? Do you think that social media might play a role in the diffusion of negative campaigning?

It is important to stress that negative campaigning is not a new phenomenon, and has probably always been part of the political landscape. In his very interesting historical exploration, Mark20 offers quite a few juicy examples – among my personal favorites is the one where the first US Federalists accuse Thomas Jefferson of being an “atheist, anarchist, demagogue, coward, and trickster” and refer to its followers as “cut-throats who walk in rags and sleep amid filth and vermin”. Nice. This being said, many elements seem to suggest that negative campaigning is on the rise. Just a few days ago, many observers qualified the final debate between the two French presidential candidates as the more negative and aggressive in recent memory. And the same can be affirmed of the 2016 US presidential election, after exactly the same was said for the 2012 edition back then. Indeed, beyond these impressions, some evidence exists that campaigns tend to get more and more negative recently.21 Several reasons might be behind this (alleged) increase in negativity. First, the modernization (or “Americanization”) of election campaigns worldwide seems to be particularly conducive to negative strategies. Campaigns are nowadays run by professional apparatus, which rely heavily on opposition research techniques leading naturally to attack politics; furthermore, some evidence exists that campaign consultants usually tend to believe that negative campaigning works, and thus promote its use.22 Second, the use of attack politics is naturally linked to intra-party conflicts, or polarization, which has been shown to be generally on the rise in Western political systems.23 When parties strongly disagree on key issues, it should come as no surprise that they invest more time and energy attacking each other on those issues. Third, and perhaps even more fundamentally, the increasingly important role of media in political events seems to foster the use of negative campaigning techniques. The reason for this is that “mediatization” comes with a price: a stronger attention devoted to the sensationalistic aspects of news and stories, a global shift towards “infotainment” and a coverage of political events through strategic frames.24 Knowing this, parties and candidates might thus go negative on their opponents simply to catch the attention of news media, and shift the spotlight on them.25 If this is true, then, instead simply of covering campaign negativity news media are, in part, directly responsible for it. The increasing importance of alternative news outlets, such as information diffused through social media, is likely to even accelerate this trend. Negative stories are more likely to go viral, and traditional news media act today as echo chambers for social media dynamics (for instance by endlessly discussing Trump’s daily twitter rants).

6) Why did you decide to study negative campaigning in the context of Swiss direct democracy rather than in the more mainstream US electoral arena? Which differences did you notice between the two cases? Is there a general lesson we can learn from the Swiss case?

Research on negativity within the US context is widespread – to the point that it is “fair to say that a great swath of forest was sacrificed for the study of negative campaigning”26. This being said, much remains to be done to develop a comprehensive model of negativity – one that takes into account the dynamics leading to its use as well as its short and long term effects. One way to move towards a more encompassing model is to test some existing trends within different contexts. If similar dynamics can be found outside the US case, then we are one step closer to uncover “universal” mechanisms. In this sense, Switzerland represents a perfect counterfactual case to study. Campaigning techniques in Switzerland are still not fully professionalized, nor “Americanized”27, and seldom rely on consultants, spin-doctors or opposition research techniques, which have been shown to increase the use of negative advertising as discussed above. Furthermore, whereas in the US negativity is endemic to the political game, in Switzerland political attacks are at odds with the deep-rooted tradition of consensual agreements and cordial decision-making and governance.28

Beyond acting quite efficiently as a “hard-case scenario” Switzerland offers another, major advantage. Campaign dynamics modeled for electoral contests can be studied here in a different, yet related, setting: direct democracy. This represents both a simple case – the choice is only between two opposing alternatives (yay vs. nay), very much like fully majoritarian elections – and a complex one, where debates often relate to technical issues and involve a multitude of loosely connected actors. Easy choice, hard debate.
It is not a mystery that Switzerland is the perfect lab for the study of negativity in direct democracy, with almost half of all referenda happening in any given year worldwide taking place there. And direct democracy is clearly having a moment, at least as far as media coverage goes: from Ireland (same-sex marriage, 2015) to Scotland (independence, 2014), from Colombia (peace accord with the FARC, 2016) to the UK (Brexit, 2016), from Italy (electoral reform, 2016) to Turkey (increased presidential powers, 2017). With varying degrees of success, sure, but overall strong attention to the way parties campaigned on those issues. Did the “leave” camp mostly rely on arguments based on appeals to anxiety and fear? To what extent did the “no” camp in the Italian referendum frame the campaign on personal attacks targeting the former PM Renzi? Research on campaign dynamics in referenda has some bright days ahead, and will undoubtedly contribute to a better understanding of election dynamics overall.

7) What are the long-term effects of negative campaigning on individuals’ decisions and attitudes towards politics?

That’s unquestionably the hardest question of them all, and three-quarters of the poor forest mentioned beforehand have probably been lost to it. The fairest answer is one that admits defeat: we don’t know for sure what the consequences of negative campaigning are – not on the short term, and even less on the long term. The problem is not that we have no idea about that, but rather that we have too many ideas, and mutually exclusive ideas on top of that. Existing evidence simply is all over the place, and drawing overall trends is a daunting task (as a recent meta-analysis suggests29).
What most scholars seem to agree on is that a “negativity bias”30 makes that negative messages are more memorable and attention-grabbing than equivalent positive messages. Even more, when messages with opposite valence messages are present (as usually happens during campaigns), negative messages overshadow their positive counterparts: “brief contact with a cockroach will usually render a delicious meal inedible. The inverse phenomenon – rendering a pile of cockroaches on a platter edible by contact with one’s favorite food – is unheard of”.31 Yikes!
Given that negative messages are more memorable and more likely to be processed, it seems only logical that they should have a strong effect. However, looking at their most important desired outcome – electoral influence – evidence gets muddy. On the one hand, negative messages have been shown in several studies to effectively reduce positive feelings for the target and overall harm its image in the eyes of the voters 32; however, as we’ve seen before, many studies also suggest that negative messages are counterproductive, and harm the sponsor of the message instead through “backlash effects”. Even though recent studies seem to suggest that backlash is more likely for character attacks than it is for issue attacks33, evidence is simply not consistent enough to affirm that negative message have the intended net effect (that is they harm the rivals more than the sponsor of the message).
Turning finally to the long-term, systemic effects of negativity once again two opposing camps exist. On the one hand, many studies show (accuse?) negative messages to enhance cynical views about the political system, foster a gloomier public mood34, and overall reduce mobilization.35 On the other hand, this “corrosive” systemic impact of negativity has been strongly questioned36, and evidence even exists that negative campaigning promotes attention, interest, and mobilization.37
Potentially on the rise, likely determined by a combination of strategic considerations and candidate psychological traits, negative campaigning is undoubtedly one of the main features of modern political campaigns. Whatever its effects might be, negative campaigning is here to stay.


[1]    See, e.g., Nai, A. & Walter, A. (eds.). (2015). New Perspective on Negative Campaigning. Why Attack Politics Matters. Colchester: ECPR Press.

[2]       Brooks, D. J. & Geer, J. G. (2007). Beyond negativity: The effects of incivility on the electorate. American Journal of Political Science, 51(1): 1-16; Kahn, K. F., & Kenney, P. J. (1999). Do negative campaigns mobilize or suppress turnout? Clarifying the relationship between negativity and participation. American Political Science Review, 93(04): 877-889.

[3]       Roese, N.J. & Sande, G.N. (1993). Backlash Effects in Attack Politics. Journal of Applied Social Psychology 23(8): 632–653.

[4]       Skaperdas, S. and Grofman, B. (1995). Modeling negative campaigning, American Political Science Review, 89(1): 49-61; Walter, A. S., van der Brug, W. and van Praag, P. (2014). When the stakes are high: Party competition and negative campaigning, Comparative Political Studies, 47(4): 550-573.

[5]       Lau, R. R. and Pomper, G. M. (2004). Negative Campaigning: An Analysis of U.S. Senate Elections, Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield.

[6]       Ridout, T. N. and Holland, J. L. (2010). Candidate Strategies in the Presidential Nomination Campaign, Presidential Studies Quarterly, 40: 611-630; Damore, D. F. (2002). Candidate Strategy and the Decision to Go Negative, Political Research Quarterly, 55(3): 669-685; Nai, A. and Sciarini, P. (2015). Why ‘going negative’? Strategic and situational determinants of personal attacks in Swiss direct democratic votes, Journal of Political Marketing, DOI: 10.1080/15377857.2015.1058310.

[7]       Huddy, L. & Terkildsen, N. (1993). Stereotypes and the Perception of Male and Female Candidates, American Journal of Political Science, 37: 119-47; Kahn, K. F. (1996) The Political Consequences of Being a Woman, New York: Columbia University Press. Opposite results are however discussed in: Maier, J. (2015). Do female candidates feel compelled to meet sex-role expectations or are they as tough as men? A content analysis on the gender-specific use of attacks in German televised debates. In: Nai, A. and Walter, A. S. (eds.) New perspectives on negative campaigning: why attack politics matters, Colchester: ECPR Press (129-146).

[8]       NEGex – Negative Campaigning Comparative Expert Survey. See:

[9]       Those traits are: Extraversion (sociability, energy, charisma), agreeableness (cooperative and pro-social behaviors, conflict avoidance and tolerance), conscientiousness (discipline, responsibility and a sense that life should be organized), emotional stability (calm, detachment, low emotional distress and anxiety), and openness (curiosity, a tendency to make new experiences). See: Goldberg, L. R. (1990). An alternative” description of personality”: the big-five factor structure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59(6): 1216; Visser, B. A., Book, A. S., & Volk, A. A. (2017). Is Hillary dishonest and Donald narcissistic? A HEXACO analysis of the presidential candidates’ public personas. Personality and Individual Differences, 106: 281-286.

[10]       Those traits are: Narcissism (ego-reinforcement behaviors, tendency to seek attention and admiration), psychopathy (lack of affect, lack of remorse, insensitivity), and Machiavellianism (tendency to use manipulation and strategic behaviors). See: Paulhus, D. L., & Williams, K. M. (2002). The dark triad of personality: Narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy. Journal of Research in Personality, 36(6): 556-563.

[11]       McRae, R. R., Jang, K. L., Livesley, W. J., Riemann, R., & Angleitner, A. (2001). Sources of structure: Genetic, environmental, and artifactual influences on the covariation of personality traits. Journal of Personality, 69(4): 511-535.

[12]       Mondak, J. J., Hibbing, M. V., Canache, D., Seligson, M. A., & Anderson, M. R. (2010). Personality and civic engagement: An integrative framework for the study of trait effects on political behavior. American Political Science Review, 104(01): 85-110; Gerber, A. S., Huber, G. A., Doherty, D., & Dowling, C. M. (2011). Personality traits and the consumption of political information. American Politics Research, 39(1): 32-84.

[13]       Mayer, W. (1996). In defense of negative campaigning, Political Science Quarterly, 111(3): 437-455; Brooks, D. J. and Murov, M. (2012). Assessing accountability in a post-Citizens United era: The effects of attack ad sponsorship by unknown independent groups, American Political Research, 40(3): 383-418.

[14]       Although the PAC now does not have the ad available anymore, it can easily be found online, for example at :

[15]       Nai, A. and Sciarini, P. (2015). Why ‘going negative’? Strategic and situational determinants of personal attacks in Swiss direct democratic votes, Journal of Political Marketing, DOI: 10.1080/15377857.2015.1058310.

[16]       Mudde, C. (2004). The populist Zeitgeist. Government and Opposition, 39(4): 542-563; Mudde, C., & Rovira Kaltwasser, C. (2013). Populism. In: Freeden, M., Sargent, L. T., & Stears, M. (eds). The Oxford Handbook of Political Ideologies, New York: Oxford University Press (pp. 493-512).

[17]       Jagers, J., & Walgrave, S. (2007). Populism as political communication style: An empirical study of political parties’ discourse in Belgium. European Journal of Political Research, 46(3): 319-345; Aalberg, T., Esser, F., Reinemann, C., Strömbäck, J., and de Vreese, C. H. (2016). Populist Political Communication in Europe, New York: Routledge.

[18]       Jagers, J., & Walgrave, S. (2007). Populism as political communication style: An empirical study of political parties’ discourse in Belgium. European Journal of Political Research, 46(3): 319-345 (p. 322).

[19]       Moffitt, B., & Tormey, S. (2014). Rethinking populism: Politics, mediatisation and political style. Political Studies, 62(2): 381-397.

[20]       Mark, D. (2006). Going dirty. The art of negative campaigning, Plymouth: Rowman and Littlefield.

[21]       See, e.g., Geer, J. G. (2012). The news media and the rise of negativity in presidential campaigns, PS: Political Science & Politics, 45(03): 422-427.

[22]       Iyengar, S. (2011). Media politics: A citizen’s guide, 2nd edition, New York: WW Norton.

[23]       Elmelund-Praestekaer, C. and Svensson, H. M. (2014). Ebbs and flows of negative campaigning: A longitudinal study of contextual factors’ influence on Danish campaign rhetoric, European Journal of Communication, 29(2): 230-239.

[24]       Brants, K. (1998). Who’s afraid of infotainment?, European Journal of Communication, 13(3): 315-335; Albaek, E., Van Dallen, A., Jebril, N. and De Vreese, C. H. (2014). Political Journalism in Comparative Perspective, New York: Cambridge University Press; De Vreese, C. H., Esser, F., and Hopmann, D. N. (eds.) (2017). Comparing Political Journalism, New York: Routledge.

[25]       Ridout, T. N., & Smith, G. R. (2008). Free advertising: How the media amplify campaign messages. Political Research Quarterly, 61(4): 598-608.

[26]       Shea, D. M. and Sproveri, A. (2012). The rise and fall of nasty politics in America, PS: Political Science & Politics, 45(03): 416-421 (p. 416).

[27]       Marquis, L. and Bergman M. M. (2009). Development and consequences of referendum campaigns in Switzerland, 1981-1999, Swiss Political Science Review, 15(1): 63-97.

[28]       Nai, A. and Sciarini, P. (2015). Why ‘going negative’? Strategic and situational determinants of personal attacks in Swiss direct democratic votes, Journal of Political Marketing, DOI: 10.1080/15377857.2015.1058310; Nai, A. (2013). What really matters is which camp goes dirty. Differential effects of negative campaigning on turnout during Swiss federal ballots, European Journal of Political Research, 52(1): 44-70.

[29]       Lau, R.R., Sigelman, L. & Rovner, I.B. (2007). The Effects of Negative Political Campaigns: A Meta-Analytic Reassessment. Journal of Politics 69(4): 1176–1209.

[30]       Ito, T. A., Larsen, J. T., Smith, N. K., & Cacioppo, J. T. (1998). Negative information weighs more heavily on the brain: the negativity bias in evaluative categorizations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(4): 887-900; Rozin, P. & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(4): 296-320.

[31]       Rozin, P. & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(4): 296-320 (p. 296).

[32]       Pinkleton, B. (1997). The Effects of Negative Comparative Political Advertising on Candidate Evaluations and Advertising Evaluations: An Exploration. Journal of Advertising 26(1): 19–29; Shen, F., & Wu, H. D. (2002). Effects of soft-money issue advertisements on candidate evaluation and voting preference: An exploration. Mass Communication & Society, 5(4): 395-410.

[33]       Carraro, L., Gawronski, B., & Castelli, L. (2010). Losing on all fronts: The effects of negative versus positive person‐based campaigns on implicit and explicit evaluations of political candidates. British Journal of Social Psychology, 49(3): 453-470.

[34]       Schenck‐Hamlin, W. J., Procter, D. E., & Rumsey, D. J. (2000). The influence of negative advertising frames on political cynicism and politician accountability. Human Communication Research, 26(1): 53-74; Thorson, E., Ognianova, E., Coyle, J., & Denton, F. (2000). Negative political ads and negative citizen orientations toward politics. Journal of Current Issues & Research in Advertising, 22(1): 13-40.

[35]       Ansolabehere, S. & Iyengar, S. (1995) Going Negative: How Attack Ads Shrink and Polarize The Electorate, New York: Free Press.

[36]       Jackson, R. A., Mondak, J. J., & Huckfeldt, R. (2009). Examining the possible corrosive impact of negative advertising on citizens’ attitudes toward politics. Political Research Quarterly, 62(1): 55-69; Blais, A., & Perrella, A. M. (2008). Systemic effects of televised candidates’ debates. The International Journal of Press/Politics, 13(4): 451-464.

[37]       Martin, P. S. (2004). Inside the black box of negative campaign effects: Three reasons why negative campaigns mobilize. Political psychology, 25(4): 545-562; Geer, J. G. (2006) In Defense of Negativity: Attack Ads in Presidential Campaigns, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

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