Assessing Negativity

John G. Geer

in In Defense of Negativity

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2006 | ISBN: 9780226284989
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226285009 | DOI:
Assessing Negativity

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This chapter illustrates that negativity is on the rise in presidential elections campaigns. Campaigns are important democratic institutions, because they link politicians and voters. In the weeks and months prior to an election, candidates send messages to the public about why they deserve their support. The public, in turn, considers these messages when voting. The ability of campaigns to be democratic, therefore, depends heavily on the quality of information available to voters as they cast their ballots. This “information environment” is more, of course, than just the messages politicians send to voters. Candidates engage in many forms of persuasion as they seek the support of the mass public, giving speeches, conducting meetings, holding interviews with journalists, taking questions from the press, and participating in debates—to name a just few. Most of these efforts contribute to the information environment available to voters, usually indirectly through the filter of the news media.

Keywords: campaigns; negativity; information environment; presidential election

Chapter.  9473 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: US Politics

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