Poll: 31% of Voters Say Negative Ads Decrease Their Interest in Voting

UTICA, N.Y. – Thirty-one percent of voters say that negative campaign advertising makes them less interested in voting and 62% say ads this year are more negative than in other years.

These results come from a Zogby Interactive poll of 2,070 likely voters conducted from Oct. 22-25.


Seventy percent of Democrats say 2010 political ads are more negative than previous years, compared to 61% of independents and 55% of Republicans who feel the same. That perception increased with age, peaking at 74% of voters over 65 who say that political ads are now more negative.

Among Republicans, less than one-in-four (21%) say they are likely to lose interest in voting due to negative ads.  Democrats (37%) and independents (35%), however, are more likely to be turned off due to negative political advertising.

Pollster John Zogby said, “Voters may dislike negative advertising, but campaigns wouldn’t spend millions on them if they didn’t work.  Sometimes, discouraging people from voting can be part of the strategy if a campaign believes increased turnout will hurt their chances of winning. It’s no surprise Democrats are more sensitive to negative ads this year because their party is behind in polls.”

The interactive poll consisted of 2,070 likely voters and has a margin of error of +/-2.2%.  A sampling of Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of the adult population of the U.S., was invited to participate.  Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, and education to more accurately reflect the population.

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