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40% of TV Viewers Say There Are More Negative Campaign Ads This Year

Monday, October 04, 2010 -- With the midterm elections just a month away, television viewers are noticing more political attack ads than ever, but most say the ads aren't changing their minds.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 40% of Adults who at least occasionally watch TV say there is more negative political advertising this election year than in previous years.  Only nine percent (9%) feel there are fewer negative ads, while 47% think the number is about the same as in past election years. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

There's virtually no partisan disagreement on the level of negative ads this years. 

A solid majority (68%) of all adult television watchers believe most political advertising attacks the opposing candidate, while just 12% feel most ads promote the candidates who are paying for them.  Twenty-one percent (21%) are not sure.

But only eight percent (8%) of all adults say negative ads make them more likely to vote for the candidate who produced the advertisement. 

Fifty-six percent (56%) say these types of ads make them less likely to vote for the candidate behind it.  Another 31% say negative ads have no impact on which candidate they'll vote for.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of those who watch TV at least occasionally say they follow TV political ads at least somewhat closely, with 23% who say they follow them Very Closely. But 41% say they don't watch them closely, if at all.

Still, just over half (53%) of all adults think that political ads on television should be banned.  Thirty-four percent (34%) disagree and feel political advertising should remain as part of campaign strategy.  Fourteen percent (14%) are undecided.

Majorities of Republicans, Democrats and adults not affiliated with either of the two parties agree that negative ads make them less likely to vote for the candidate who produced it. They agree, too, that political ads should be banned from television.

Recent polling finds that 44% of voters say it is not possible to win a political campaign in this country today without raising money from lobbyists

In late January, just after the Supreme Court campaign finance ruling, a majority of voters (60%) said corporations and unions should not be able to spend money on political ads to influence elections

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters say they are more likely to contribute time or money to a political campaign this year compared to previous election years.


Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade. To learn more about our methodology, click here.

The national survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on September 27-28, 2010 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


©2010 Rasmussen Reports, LLC

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