What is the Definition of Negative Campaigning
Negative campaigning, also known as "mudslinging", that means : trying to win an advantage by referring to negative aspects of an opponent or of a policy , emphasizing his negative attributes or damaging policies.
Negative campaigning can be found in most marketplaces where ideas are contested. In U.S. politics, "mudslinging" has been called "as American as Mississippi mud". Take into consideration that negative campaigning is the norm in all political venues, check the news and see what is going on with those upcoming Presidential Elections of 2016 ! Mud , Mud and more Mud .
There are a number of techniques used in negative campaigning. Among the most effective is running advertisements attacking an opponent's personality, record, or opinion. There are two main types of ads used in negative campaigning: attack and contrast.
Attack ads focus exclusively on the negative aspects of the opponent. There is no positive content in an attack ad, whether it is about the candidate or the opponent. Attack ads usually identify the risks associated with the opponent, often exploiting people’s fears to manipulate and lower the impression voters have of the opponent. Because attack ads have no positive content, they have the potential to be more influential than contrast ads in shaping voters’ views of the sponsoring candidate’s opponent.
Unlike attack ads, contrast ads contain information about both the candidate and the opponent. The information about the candidate is positive, while the information about the opponent is negative. Contrast ads compare and contrast the candidate with the opponent, juxtaposing the positive information about the candidate with the negative information of the opponent. Because contrast ads must contain positive information, contrast ads are seen as less damaging to the political process than attack ads.
Dirty tricks are also common in negative political campaigns. These generally involve secretly leaking damaging information to the media. This isolates a candidate from backlash and also does not cost any money. The material must be substantive enough to attract media interest, however, and if the truth is discovered it could severely damage a campaign. Other dirty tricks include trying to feed an opponent's team false information hoping they will use it and embarrass themselves.
Often a campaign will use outside organizations, such as lobby groups, to launch attacks. These can be claimed to be coming from a neutral source and if the allegations turn out not to be true the attacking candidate will not be damaged if the links cannot be proven. Negative campaigning can be conducted by proxy.
Sponsors of overt negative campaigns often cite reasons to support mass communication of negative ideas. The Office of National Drug Control Policy uses negative campaigns to steer the public away from health risks. Similar negative campaigns have been used to rebut mass marketing by tobacco companies, or to discourage drunk driving. Those who conduct negative political campaigns sometimes say the public needs to know about the person he or she is voting for, even if it is bad. In other words, if a candidate’s opponent is a crook or a bad person, then he or she should be able to tell the public about it.
Some strategists say that an effect of negative campaigning is that while it motivates the base of support it can alienate centrist and undecided voters from the political process, reducing voter turnout and radicalizing politics.
A fundamental technique used in public relations is to identify the target audience and to tailor messages to be relevant to each audience.
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