Voters Leery of Negative Campaigns




Ever since Gov. Sarah Palin sought to link Sen. Barack Obama to Bill Ayers during a campaign speech a couple of weeks ago, the 1960s radical and tenured University of Chicago professor has been in the news just about as much as the failing economy. Obama has called Ayers actions as a Weatherman “detestable” and “despicable.”


Considering the turbulent credit markets, voters are more concerned about their retirement savings and decreased credit availability than with Ayers. According to the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project, Sen. John McCain ran mostly negative ads between Sept. 28 and Oct. 4. He just might be paying for it in the polls. McCain is trailing Obama by 10 points according to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll released today.


Voters do not look favorably on negative attack campaigns, reads a recent poll by SurveyUSA. Results show that 73% of people said it is inappropriate for candidates to put out negative ads against their opponent while 25% said it is OK.


Furthermore, the poll reported that negative campaigns affect voter’s decisions in different ways:
•    34% say it makes them not want to vote
•    26% say it makes them want to vote even more
•    40% say it does not affect them


During a stump speech a little over a week ago in Florida, Palin said that Obama pals around with “terrorists.” Her statement was made in the present tense and “terrorists” was plural, suggesting that he presently affiliates with more than one terrorist.  She also neglected to chastise audience members who shouted racial epithets about Obama. Presidential contender McCain did not denounce her words or deeds.


McCain’s campaign also released negative ads tying Barack Obama to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now, an organization that has been charged with voter fraud.The ad accuses ACORN of forcing banks to issue risky home loans. Maude Hurd president of ACORN refuted the ad as false.


“John McCain and the Republicans are desperately trying to shift the blame for the economic crisis they caused with a philosophy of deregulation and indifference to homeowners,” says Hurd in a statement. “All the grainy footage and creepy music in the world can’t cancel out some simple, basic facts, and the facts about the economy are not on John McCain’s side.”


Obama has also participated in the mud slinging. He released an ad about McCain’s involvement in the Keating Five, an investigation that linked McCain to the savings and loan scandals of the 1980s.


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