Madison
57° F
Partly Cloudy
Partly Cloudy
Advertisement

Reality Check: Candidates Flood State With Political Ads

Published On: Feb 14 2008 07:52:38 AM CST
Updated On: Feb 14 2008 07:54:27 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Political ads by presidential candidates are now flooding the airwaves in Wisconsin.

VIDEO: Watch The Report

A WISC-TV Reality Check found that the negative ads just might be better for voters' decision-making than they might think.

Sen. Hillary Clinton has been focusing ads on her proposed policies and her record. Sen. Barack Obama has been airing ads that introduce him to voters and show them his vision.

But the tactics are changing. Clinton has begun running an ad that is the first negative ad of the entire Democratic presidential campaign. It focuses on how she's accepted an initiation to participate in a debate in Wisconsin, and Obama hasn't.

One University of Wisconsin-Madison professor said he believes negative ads can be a good thing for voters.

"Negative advertising is more likely to be factually correct than positive advertising, and is also more likely to be on issues than positive ads," said Ken Goldstein, who heads up the University of Wisconsin Advertising Project.

Goldstein said that not only are negative ads more likely to be correct or on issues, but they also point out contrast between candidates, or get voters to go out and look for more information. Goldstein's research shows than in 2004, positive ads had around 43 percent policy content, while negative ads were nearly 60 percent policy-related.

"What shines through a fog of information is sometimes a negative message. It tells people, 'Hey, something important is going on here; we're electing a president, pay attention,'" Goldstein said. "And when voters pay attention, when they're a little anxious or even a little fearful, we know that they're much more open to learning."

But he pointed out that, while effective, negative ads aren't always the best option for the candidate. Obama is new to many voters, while Clinton is not. Goldstein said that Obama's ads don't need to define differences, they need to define himself.

In a conference call announcing the Clinton debate ad, her communications director said they didn't believe the ad was negative, saying that a "call to debate is a positive thing."

The Obama campaign is responding to the Clinton ad by airing its own ad starting Friday statewide. That ad says the two have debated 18 times and defends Obama's policy stances.

Note: Send ideas for Reality Check to realitycheck@channel3000.com.

Advertisement
  • Ray Rice

    CNN

    NFL players in trouble with the law

    The recent assault case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice has the nation talking not only about domestic violence, but also NFL players who have had brushes with the law. Take a look at a list of some of the more prominent NFL athletes who have had legal run-ins.

  • Rob Ford, Toronto Mayor blurb

    REUTERS/Mark Blinch

    What did he say?! Rob Ford's craziest quotes

    Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is withdrawing from a re-election bid in the upcoming mayoral race, according to CNN news partner CBC. The controversial mayor was hospitalized this week after the discovery of an abdominal tumor. Take a look at some of this controversial politician's most shocking quotes.

  • Stringer/Reuters

    Most dangerous jobs in America

    Spilled coffee ruining your work day? In these jobs, you're lucky to make it out alive.

Advertisement