Political Books blog alerts us to a new book that does a lot to explain why the fear and animosity inherent in political campaigns based on crime and “law and order” issues are so effective and why policymakers are so afraid of doing anything rational.
Here's an interesting and timely new book: Campaign Advertising and American Democracy by Michael M. Franz, Paul B. Freedman, Kenneth M. Goldstein, and Travis N. Ridout.The authors analyzed mountains of data, including ad buys, advertising content, voter surveys, and election results, and consistently found that the advertisements that had the most pronounced effect on voters were negative ads.Said one of the authors, Kenneth Goldstein: "Negative ads are more likely to be factually accurate than positive ads. Negative ads are more likely to be on policy than positive ads. Positive ads are a guy walking in khakis walking on the beach with his dog or sitting in front of a fireplace in a fuzzy sweater, and that simply doesn't have a lot of information."The bottom line is that "contrary to widely held beliefs, political ads do not turn people off to politics."