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UF professor researches political advertisements

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A University of Florida professor researched how effective negative political advertisements can be as a tool for candidates while campaigning.

Stephen Craig, a UF political science professor and the director of the political campaigning graduate program, said his study focused on negative ads and candidates retaliate.

He said people normally assume negative ads are always effective, which the study found isn’t true.

“I mean if every candidate who went negative won, most candidates would be winners, but they’re not,” Craig said.

He said whether negative or positive, a candidate’s ad should have a message that his or her audience can relate to.

“If you got a message that resonates voters, then there is a fairly good chance that the message will attract some support,” he said. “All the more so if it is negative.”

The study exposed people to two ads, both of which were meant to change how one views the opposing candidate.

Craig said negative campaigning has been around for more than 200 years.

“It’s not new,” he said. “Its more pervasive today simply because of the media, there are more options, and the ads are everywhere.”

Negative campaigning may be worse today as compared to the past because of the amount of money invested in it, he said.

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