Carleton Author

Allen, Barbara

Department

Political Science

Journal Title

Journal of Politics

Publication Date

2007

First Page

527

Publisher

Cambridge University Press

Last Page

541

File Name

036_Allen-Barbara_WhatsGoodForTheGooseIsBadForTheGanderNegativePoliticalAdvertising.pdf

Abstract

This study examines citizens’ perceptions of fairness and legitimacy in political advertising. Using focus groups, an original national survey, and data on election 2000, as well as drawing on results from a replication of the national survey in 2004, we characterize political ads from the citizen’s perspective. We then turn to the impact of ‘‘negative’’ advertising on voter turnout. Like several studies, we find circumstances under which turnout can be increased by negative ad criticisms. However, we show that this general result is only part of the story. Drawing on research in political psychology, we suggest that voters are ‘‘motivated processors’’ of advertising claims; as such, they evaluate the fairness of an ad according to their partisan predispositions. We show that when partisans perceive the criticisms of their own party’s candidate to be fair, they are less likely to say they will vote. As a result, we find that negative advertising not only may affect the total turnout in an election but also has an important and varying impact on the composition of the electorate.

Rights Management

Carleton College does not own the copyright to this work and the work is available through the Carleton College Library following the original publisher's policies regarding self-archiving. For more information on the copyright status of this work, refer to the current copyright holder.

RoMEO Color

Green

Preprint Archiving

Yes

Postprint Archiving

Yes

Publisher PDF Archiving

Yes (with copyright notice)

Contributing Organization

Carleton College

Type

Article

Format

application/pdf

Language

English

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