Thursday, October 02, 2008

2008 Campaign is Not the Most Negative on Record

I would have sworn 2008 was the most negative Presidential campaign on record, but not yet according to Emmett Buell and Lee Sigelman who have been tracking Presidential campaign ads since 1960. And, contrary to what I've thought, the Democrats are usually more negative in their ads than the Republicans. Here are the breakdown in negative ads.

Seems like Al Gore in 2000 was the least negative of all. I wonder if that explains his loss.

Democrats Republicans
1960 65.6% 45.0%
1964 64.6% 66.3%
1968 57.1% 49.6%
1972 64.1% 49.7%
1976 47.2% 41.6%
1980 54.5% 58.6%
1984 66.0% 38.7%
1988 61.5% 57.5%
1992 59.6% 65.8%
1996 51.8% 48.4%
2000 36.7% 53.2%
2004 71.9% 52.9%
2008 45.6% 37.5%

You can read more about it in their book Attack Politics, or on the website The Monkey Cage.
A good lesson to me that I don't listen to ads with neutral ears.


Anonymous said...

And let's not forget the fun and joy from the 1796 or 1800 elections where, for example, the sitting VP (Jefferson) was running against the sitting Prez (Adams) and Jefferson was sending articles to partisan newspapers. Or the election of Andrew Jackson (1828) where his enemies called his wife a whore. She died before he took office and never stopped blaming them.

Lisa said...

I have to force myself to ignore the ads -- although I have to say that the ads for the state and local elections are far more annoying than the ads for the Presidential candidates. These days I actually mute the TV when any of them come on. It doesn't surprise me that this isn't the worst campaign. It feels like it was pretty civil for about the first...10 minutes? :)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Oh, the local ads are unbelievable because they're so amateurish.

Anonymous said...

If anything, the ads are damned polite in comparison to years past, partly because, for once, you have two candidates who don't make you wonder if high school diplomas are passed out as arcade prizes. Obama's whole message is about hope and change, and McCain's always had a certain squickishness about his own party's zeal in going negative. (Plus his August ads against Obama were, methinks, a joke. "He's just like Paris Hilton. Hee hee hee.")

And Scott Parker is right. Up until just after the Civil War, the tone of political "dialogue" would have made even Ann Coulter cringe. (And nothing makes that vapid harpie cringe.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Ha, Jim. And anything makes me cringe. Can't bear to watch the debate tonight but my husband will shame me into it.

pattinase (abbott) said...

After the 1890s federal subsidies for partisan newspapers were banned and political journalism became less tainted. Or so says my husband.