The most comprehensive treatment of negative campaigning to date, The Positive Case for Negative Campaigning uses models, surveys, and experiments to show that much of the seeming dislike of negative campaigning can be explained by the way survey questions have been worded. By failing to distinguish between baseless and credible attacks, surveys fail to capture differences in votersÃ¢ÂÂ receptivity. VotersÃ¢ÂÂ responses, the authors argue, vary greatly and can be better explained by the content and believability of the ads than by whether the ads are negative. Mattes and Redlawsk continue on to establish how voters make use of negative information and why it is necessary. Many voters are politically naÃÂ¯ve and unlikely to make inferences about candidatesÃ¢ÂÂ positions or traits, so the ability of candidates to go on the attack and focus explicitly on information that would not otherwise be available is crucial to voter education.
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