Opinion

Proof that negative campaigns don’t always work

An editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail 

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The political pundits will tell you that negative campaigning is a successful tactic. It’s unfortunate, but it must be true. Candidates and political action committees spend millions on the practice.

“For better or worse, negative campaigning works,” writes William S. Bike in the Complete Campaigns web post of a political consultant. Citing a DePaul University source, Bike writes: “what negative advertising does is get your supporters committed and excited. Those who are indifferent are so turned off that they are less likely to vote, as are people who are for the other candidate — so not only does it help you, but it depresses turnout.”

It’s a disgusting thought for defenders of democracy, but probably accurate considering the bad taste negative campaigning leaves on the electorate.

The best the voters can do is ignore the negative campaign tactics.

That must have been what most voters did considering that a list of candidates targeted for defeat by the inappropriately named Honest West Virginians PAC and the West Virginia First PACs looks like a Who’s Who of election winners..

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