In a recent blog, an AdAge writer discusses a advertisement analysis study regarding the presidential election and the use of negative ads.
The study found that out of the ads that ran in September of this year, less than 8% were positive. When Obama ran in 2008, 28% of the ads in September were positive, whereas this year only 2.5% are. Similarly, John McCain used 32% positive ads in September, whereas Mitt Romney used only 15% positive ads this September.
The researchers also compared this to the previous two presidential elections. There has been a slight trend of political ads becoming more negative, but this election is at an all-time high for negativity.
This advertisement content analysis study was conducted by the Wesleyan Media Project associated with Wesleyan University from Middletown, Conn. The data was gathered by an ad tracker from New York called CMAG.
The blog does not discuss the credibility of CMAG and the data that was gathered. The advertisements that were analyzed were not necessary representative of the whole group of advertisements for each candidate. We also do not know how many advertisements were sampled, or during which television programs the ads were aired or on which platforms. Without this information, we cannot truly assess the reliability or generalizability of the advertisements that were analyzed.