2002-11-09 / Editorial/Opinion

Negative Ads Make For Disaffected Voters

Negative Ads Make For Disaffected Voters

We have never seen an election that has turned off more voters than the recent election. Not since the last school board election have we seen fewer voters going to the polls to cast their ballot. Even for a midterm election, this one has disaffected voters like no other. We have to ask why and the answer we get over and over again is that the candidate’s ads have become so negative that it turns the voters off to the entire electoral process. On Sunday night, for example, we logged 32 political ads for those running for Governor and Comptroller. Of those 32 ads, only one touted the positive achievements of the candidate without mentioning any of his opponents. That one was an education ad for Governor George Pataki. You have probably seen it. It ends with a student who says that he wants to be governor some day. In virtually every other case, the ad had negative things to say about the candidate’s opponent, without mentioning what the candidate himself stood for. That is no way to run a campaign. Certainly, it might gain a few hundred votes from those who are still undecided, but a constant deluge of negative ads blunts the campaign and gives all voters reason not to vote at all.

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