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Consequences of negative campaigning

Researchers have looked at negative campaigning as political attack rhetoric and obtained further insights from different disciplinary traditions in this area.
Consequences of negative campaigning
There is both positive and negative campaigning. Negative campaigning involves criticizing one’s political opponent in order to appeal to voters by lessening the appeal of the opponent. Positive campaigning, on the other hand, consists of self-praise in an attempt to increase one’s own appeal to voters. Over the years, scholarly investigation into this area has mainly focused on negative campaigning.

An EU-funded study, CSNCC (Comparative study negative campaigning and its consequences), generated new knowledge about the conditions in which negative campaigning is more common. The team also gathered new insights on the effects of negative campaigning. Researchers compared negative campaigning between countries and between British constituents as well as the attack rhetoric in politics.

Main findings show that those who employ negative campaigning become less electorally attractive to voters and can even cause voters to prefer a third party. In studying the 2015 United Kingdom general elections, negative campaigning did not affect voter turnout but instead had a negative impact on the voter’s trust in politics.

The way in which negative campaigning is measured has an impact on the findings. Ways that voters regard the tone of the campaign is connected with the content of the campaign messages they receive. CSNCC also found that voters who were less extroverted and more conscientious viewed campaign messages as more negative.

Negative campaigning is not beneficial with multiparty systems as it makes them more unstable. Since it diminishes political trust, it can impact the quality of representative democracy. Perception of negative campaigning is connected with the forms of attacks as well as the personality traits of voters.

Related information


Negative campaigning, political attack rhetoric, CSNCC, voters, multiparty systems
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