Wisconsin has most negative political ads in the U.S.

Negative ads are more effective than positive ads, according to political scientist

You can hardly escape political ads; they grab your attention and sometimes even your anger, but political ads are often more effective than positive ads.

“If I say so and so is a wonderful person, but if I say so and so is a terrible person  you will get people to pay attention,” Joe Heim, a political science professor at UW-L said.  “It’s just kind of a part of human nature to be more alert and aware of negativity.”

Nearly 5,000 ads from Democrats and Republicans aired in Wisconsin from Aug. 29 to Sept. 11. Sixty-two percent of the ads in the governor’s race so far were negative and just under 4 percent were positive, according to The Wesleyan Media Project . Thirty-five percent of ads were contrast ads. That said something nice about one candidate and something bad about the other.

Both Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Democratic candidate Mary Burke said they want try to stick to positive ads.

“A significant number of our ads are ads that talk about the positive things that we have done and the positive plans that we have, going forward I think you’re going to see that the vast majority of ads going forward from us are positive.” Gov. Scott Walker said,

 “It’s unfortunate and I want to change that as governor I want to bring the state together, I don’t believe that this divisiveness and negativity that we’ve seen for the last three years is who we are.” Mary Burke, Democratic candidate for Wisconsin Governor said.

With the majority of political ads considered strictly negative, it’s important to remember that many are produced by outside political organizations rather than by the campaigns themselves.

“It’s a tried and true way, I didn’t say this about my opponent but those ads said it, you let a surrogate or a supportive organization do the attacking and it keeps your hands from getting too dirty,” Heim said.

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