Is Negative Campaigning Effective?


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Credibility, reputation, identity, and image may be irreparably damaged from negative campaigning. This study provides useful insights for political advisors and the communications
industry to consider.

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Is Negative Campaigning Effective?

  1. 1. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 1Running Head: INFLUENCE OF NEGATIVE CAMPAINGS ON PUBLIC OPINION The Influence of Attitude on Public Decisions: How Negative Campaigns affect the Public Opinions Andrew Ciccone Quantitative Methods PROPOSAL Baruch College
  2. 2. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 2 PurposeCredibility, reputation, identity, and image may be irreparably damaged from negativecampaigning. This study provides useful insights for political advisors and the communicationsindustry to consider.The Attitude-Toward-The-Ad Model assumes that favorable reactions to an advertisement areprojected onto the brands featured in the advertisement (Muehling, 1987). The premises of thisproposal will apply the criterion of related theory to determine whether the severity of negativestatements influence public attitudes towards the person(s) making such statements and thosewho are being criticized. The topic of study is the impact and affect, if any, of negativecampaigning in politics.Advertisers and communicators often have concerns about unintended perceptions andinterpretations of comparative advertising and or other communicative campaigns. Thisconsideration is relevant as there are varied opinions on mentioning competitors in yourmessages, and if it is prudent to do so.Other responses to comparative campaign formats regarding beliefs about claims, credibility ofsources, could have a direct and negative effect on the public‟s perceptions of those criticized.The severity of statements towards others may have lasting reputational damage significantlyinfluencing attitudes the public has towards those criticized.
  3. 3. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 3 Literature ReviewThe interest in the political process at times is apathetic, however there is a real desire for manycitizens to participate and support various issues and candidates. Various internal and externalinfluences affect Americans attitudes and beliefs on a local level in their communities and on anational scale, on opinions formulated. The presidential candidate‟s beliefs influence thepublic‟s attitudes as voters indentify with an individual candidate symbolically or may favor acandidate based on their position(s) on various issues. Most people choose candidatescombining the candidates personal attributes with their positions on various issues.Subjective norms may predict behavioral intentions however societal pressures may have less ofan influence on behavioral intentions than the attitude construct. In other words, howindividual‟s processes information from media, interpersonal sources, and the intellectualcommunity (attitudes) typically prevail over societal norms.Intentions are decisions to act in a particular way. Eagly and Chaiken (1993, p. 168) note thatintentions are a “psychological construct distinct from attitude, [which] represents the person‟smotivation in the sense of his or her conscious plan to exert effort to carry out behavior”. Inapplications of The Theory of Reasoned Action TRA, researchers have operationalizedintentions as either the likelihood that one will perform a behavior (Koballa, 1988) or as anapproximation of performing a behavior in the future. The model of goal directed behaviorposits that attitudes, positive and negative emotions, and subjective norms influence intentionsthrough desires. There is a connection between personal attitudes and being influenced bysubjective norms that may illicit an individual to take action on an issue. The hypothesizedmodel recognizes that the connection is affective and does encompass emotions, suggesting thateagerness encompasses one‟s level of interest and intensity of desire to act.
  4. 4. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 4 Literature Review (Cont’d)Eagerness to perform behavior reflects their desire to take action and incorporates each person‟sgoal(s) and internal motivations. Consumer‟ motivations to act are measured in the context ofthinking about engaging in an activity. Much research in marketing, consumer behavior, andpsychology has suggested that consumers vary in the degree of eagerness to engage in a newbehavior (Bargh, 2002).Attitudes toward performing a behavior are generally viewed as assessments of an individual‟spropensity towards a behavior (Finlay, Trafimow, & Villarreal, 2002).A person‟s beliefs that certain individuals or organizations (referents), believe how an individualor group should perform, or refrain from culturally defined behavior. Norms are a function ofvarious types of societal beliefs, determined by the culmination of the experiences and influencesof a person‟s beliefs and motivations to adhere to a subjective norm. Normative beliefs areindividual‟s beliefs that underlie the norms that pervade in one‟s reality. Attitude toward aspecific behavior and subjective norms have been shown to account for much variance inintention to perform a specific behavior (Finlay et al., 2002).Involvement is the motivational quality “to move forward to engage in a new behavior”(Warrington & Shim, 2000).Researchers have found that the closer match between one‟s self-concept and a proposedbehavior, the more motivated a consumer is to act (Charng, Piliavin, & Callero, 1988;Warrington & Shim, 2000). Rapaport and Orbell (2000, p. 320) examine behavioral intentions,“If a person indentifies with a specific role or action, they are more likely to express a positiveattitude towards the action, which in turn may act as a predictor of intention.” Both Higie andFeick (1989) and Kapferer and Laurent (1993) conceptualize involvement as having a self-
  5. 5. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 5 Literature Review (Cont’d)expressive component. The extent to which one‟s choice or position on an issue tells othersabout you. In contrast, self-concept motivates individuals to perform certain behaviors becausedoing so will communicate meaning to others and further enhance one‟ self concept. In otherwords, one‟s self image is very important motivator of behavior (Grubb and Grathwohl, 1967). HypothesisA number of processes may account for the impact of communicative influences from the media,public opinion polls, and word of mouth on an individual‟s attitudes and beliefs. The classicalconditioning effect is most often cited in which the affect generated by the message “transfers”to the intended audience. Learning theory offers a theoretical rationale for this transferenceprocess, simply stated our attitudes towards good things is favorable and generally speaking ourattitudes towards objects associated with bad things is unfavorable. Therefore positive ornegative feelings associated with an issue or message may also be projected onto an individual orgroup. The Fishbein (1975) multi-attribute model assumes that attitudes towards objects arecomprised of beliefs associated with the object with specific attributes and evaluations of theattributes.From previous studies, it has been proven that subtle negative campaign messages do notadversely affect those being criticized. Hypotheses were formulated in this study to unearth anycorrelation between the severity of negative campaigns and how the public‟s attitudes areinfluenced by those making such statements and those being criticized.
  6. 6. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 6 Hypothesis (Cont’d)On the basis of the literature reviewed research questions were chosen as opposed to formulatinghypotheses as there is not enough compelling research on the effects of negative statements onthose criticized and how such statements affect public attitudes. RQ1: An overtly negative campaign message towards those criticized unfavorably affects the public‟s opinion of those criticized. It does not adversely affect the public‟s opinion of those making such statements. RQ2: An overtly negative campaign message towards those criticized has no affect on the public‟s opinion of those criticized. However, it does adversely affect the public‟s opinion of those making such statements. MethodologyMethods & MeasuresScholars Carrel and Wilmington (1998) studying persuasion know that compliance, performing abehavior or act, differs from internalization, valuing a behavior or act such as a statement.Baseline quantitative pre-test measures of the credibility of the political candidates from the2008 election were surveyed utilizing self-report closed end questionnaires to ensure internalvalidity. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and Mike Huckabee wereall measured as to the credibility of each candidate utilizing (Pfau and Eveland, 1996) semanticdifferential scales of measurement to assess voter‟s attitudes. Researchers (Berlo, Lemert, &Mertz, 1971;
  7. 7. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 7 MethodologyMethods & Measures (Cont’d)E. W. Miles & Leathers, 1984; Teven & Comadena, 1996) found that credibility (believability),a multi-dimensional concept comprised of three independent factors: authoritativeness,trustworthiness, and dynamism. Each of these factors was measured by six 7-point semanticdifferential scales. Authoritativeness: qualified/unqualified, informed/uninformed, authoritative/un- authoritative, trained/untrained, experienced/un-experienced, skilled/unskilled Trustworthiness: agreeable/un-agreeable, kind/cruel, pleasant/unpleasant, safe/dangerous, congenial/quarrelsome, friendly/unfriendly Dynamism: empathetic/hesitant, active/passive, aggressive/meek, bold/timid, frank/reserved, forceful/forcelessThe six items of the semantic differential scales used to measure each factor were summated toproduce a separate score for authoritativeness, trustworthiness and dynamism. These threescores were then summed up into a single score with more weighting on authoritativeness andtrustworthiness.The dependent variable in this case of credibility was used to measure a respondents‟ attitudetowards each candidate using three 7-point semantic differential scales: credible/not credible,competent/incompetent, and qualified/unqualified. The respondents in the pre-test were askedtheir political affiliation in order to evaluate any bias toward a political party, in addition thosesurveyed were asked to rank order the trustworthiness of each candidate. For the purposes ofthis study more weight was given to the findings ascribed to the candidates of their political partyof choice when a clear bias was indicated from the data. All the candidates evaluated in the pre-
  8. 8. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 8 MethodologyMethods & Measures (Cont’d)test were found to be of comparable integrity.The video clips of candidates selected statements that were pre-tested as to the severity of theharsh/harmless statements candidates made towards rivals using the 7-point semantic differentialscale for measurement validity.ProceduresDue concern for the dignity and welfare of the participants in compliance with laws andstandards was seriously considered, reasonable steps implemented protections for the rights andwelfare of human participants and other persons affected by the research conducted. Allparticipants in this study were informed and provided consent voluntarily, free of will toparticipate in this research as was the ethical standards for the reporting and publishing of theresearch results.DVD discs were provided to students interested in participating in this study in select states,counties, and cities at college campuses about the United States that reflect the voting public.Students selected watched the videos at various settings, such as their homes, or othercomfortable locations over the allotted two week period, simply emailing the questionnaire backindicating their responses.Errors were reduced by administering accurate measurement techniques in a consistent manner.A threat to this study, albeit considered non-threatening was the lack of control over the settingas to where the video-clips were viewed and the questionnaires taken by the students. Eachparticipant was allotted two weeks to watch the video clips and submit the questionnaire via the
  9. 9. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 9 MethodologyProcedures (Cont’d)internet to minimize any sleeper effect threats as to the timing of when students participated inthis study, and the external events influencing their attitudes, certainly may influence responses.The procedures, methods, and questionnaires ensured that the standards put forth from theInstitutional Review Board (IRB) were strictly adhered to. The questionnaire design and theDVD video-clips of the candidates were administered in compliance with the recognizedstandards of scientific competence and ethical research.A pilot study of the questionnaire was conducted utilizing the test-retest method at two points intime evaluating any possibility that questions or results could be misleading. Cronbach‟s (1951)alpha coefficient method evaluated the overall relationship among the questionnaires answersachieving internal reliability well above 0.75, considered acceptable for scholarly review.The treatment, or other “filler” video-clip‟s content regarding candidate‟s statements were pre-tested and measured to be less harsh than those being studied. These “filler” clips (theindependent variable) were manipulated regarding the severity of the statements made by thecandidates to provide control over the experiment. The “filler” video-clips were randomlydistributed into the experimental sample to better evaluate how the participants‟, the public (thedependent variable) attitudes were influenced by the varying severity of the candidate‟sstatements.
  10. 10. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 10 MethodologySamplingA representative sample of (3,000 college students) were selected non-randomly reflectedeligible voters on the basis of gender, race, religion, ethnicity, home state, urban/suburban cities,and political party. Factors such as age, income, and education were not fairly represented ascollege students were used out of convenience. Cluster sampling was used in select states,counties within those states, cities within those counties, to select colleges of higher learning thatare indicative of all regions of the United States, as there are varying views based on the regionof the country that may skew the findings of this study.To minimize external and internal influences on the respondents‟ attitudes that history andselection may pose, the timing of the study was over a three month period. Two, three monthsurveys representing cross-sectional samples of typical voters were conducted in the winter of2007 and spring of 2008 as people‟s beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors are time bound sensitive.Historical factors that may have an impact on the respondents‟ participating in this study includelocal, national, and world events going on at this time of this survey. Personal friendships,relations, peers, and family members may also impact the respondents answers affecting theirattitudes towards candidates and or issues brought up in the video-clips presented in thisresearch.Other considerations such as the student‟s major in college or parent‟s political affiliation werenot deemed to be substantive factors in influencing opinions of this study. Of course history-selection may have influenced regions of the U.S. due to local or regional events and orstatements made by candidates in those areas or if the candidates are from those regions of theUnited States.
  11. 11. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 11 MethodologyQuestionnaireIn order to easily compare the information gathered from the respondents a directive strategy wasembraced. The structure of the closed-end questions as much as possible took into account,question order effects of consistency, fatigue, and redundancy. The self-report questions werealso structured to eliminate as much as possible to avoid response style, so that the respondentsdid not simply indicate the same answer to each question, results that did indicate this behaviorwere reviewed to evaluate the level of participation of the respondent. A balanced-scaleapproach to the structure of the questions (Oskamp, 1991) switched the wording of questions toelicit positive or negative responses. Finally questions were structured to elicit a quarrelsomeresponse style leading participants to say „yes‟ or „no‟ to a similar questions, validating theconsistency of the data.Threats due to how the research was conducted. Measurement validity and reliability wasminimized by clearly indicting each question asked in simple language employing a tunnelformat to yield consistent responses easily coded. Only questions relevant to the study wereasked, not slang, abbreviations or vague expressions were used in the questions. Important termswere highlighted for emphasis, but not overtly used.Questions were specific, precise, and focused on one aspect per question to simplify the answerswith attention given to matching the choices to questions appropriately. Response answers weremutually exclusive to indicate only one answer to each question, as were the choices to eachquestion exhaustive to ensure all possible anticipated answers. Inclusive terms such asalways/never imply negative connotations and were not used in the phrasing of questions.
  12. 12. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 12 MethodologyQuestionnaire (Cont’d)The questionnaire was written in a natural conversational tone with simple wording avoidingcomplex questions. Care was taken to construct logically complete, grammatically correct, short,to the point questions, not breaking questions between pages, and that did not duplicate earlieritems or that may appear redundant to those surveyed. The tone of the survey was user friendlyand flowed easily from one question to another to put the participants in a mood conducive toanswering the questions and to alleviate fatigue. Earlier questions engaged the respondents‟interest in the subject being researched but did not overwhelm them.Sensitive questions were placed in the middle of the survey as participants would most likely beagreeable to answering questions truthfully. Questions regarding demographic information wasasked of voluntarily and placed at the end of the survey with regard to race, ethnicity, and otherpotentially personal information. Answers to such questions as age and income were provided asranges as many people are sensitive to providing such personal information.VariablesThe candidates‟ statements represented on the DVD video-clips (independent variable) werestudied to evaluate if there was any influence attitudes on the (dependent variable) of the publicor in this case the respondents participating in this research. The candidates criticized (alsodependent variables) by campaign statements (independent variable) from rivals influence thepublic‟s/respondent‟s (dependent variable) attitudes towards those criticized.Aspects of the variables could not be controlled such as the tone of candidates‟ words and thecrowds‟ reactions to the candidates captured on the video-clips. The audience‟s at these political
  13. 13. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 13 MethodologyVariables (Cont’d)events usually is biased for the candidate, and their reactions to statements made certainly mayinfluence those viewing the film footage. The setting of debates among candidates within thesame party may have a subtle advantage given the topics discussed that may favor one candidateover another as regions of the country have varying priorities such as rural or urban areas. Thepress may ask or respond to a candidate‟s statement that may be biased to the candidate. On anyoccasion the clothes of each candidate may lend subtle bias to the participants of this researchand many other intangibles such as if their spouse, family, friends, and other high profileindividuals present in the video-clip provided. Data AnalysisResultsGiven the large sample size, the scores of the variables upon evaluation were found to exhibit anormative distribution typical of the population sample indicate a high level of accuracysupporting the central limits theory (Norusis, 1991). The random sample in this study reflectsthe actual mean in the sampling distribution accurately representing the true population meanwith a 95% confidence level indicating a high level of reliability for the internal measures andassurance of minimal internal error.There was no bias in the selection of participants based on political party, however strongnegative notions of any of the candidates, were screened during the pre-testing to provide anobjective sample. The public‟s strong opinions on the issues and candidates may explain thekurtosis and skewness of the distribution curve here tall and strongly pointed, with scores
  14. 14. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 14 Data AnalysisResultsclustered around the middle exhibiting leptokurtic distribution. Historically past elections haveprecipitated strong attitudes on various issues however firsts in this election may raise issuesregarding gender and race, as there has never been a serious female contender for the presidencynor an African American.No significant difference or relationship was supported that negatively affect both the candidatesmaking strong statements attacking their rival‟s character, nor was there any negative impact onthe candidates making such negative statements.Samples of Election Results from the 2008 Democratic Presidential State Primaries  South Carolina 1/26/2008 – Obama 55%, Clinton 27%  Florida 1/29/2008 – Clinton 50%, Obama 33%  California 2/5/2008 – Clinton 52%, Obama 42%  Illinois 2/5/2008 – Obama 65%, Clinton 33%  New York 2/5/2008 – Clinton 57%, Obama 40%  Maine 2/10/2008 – Obama 59%, Clinton 40%  Virginia 2/12/2008 – Obama 68%, Clinton 35%  Ohio 3/4/2008 – Clinton 54%, Obama 44%  Wyoming 3/8/2008 – Obama 61%, Clinton 38%  Pennsylvania 4/22/2008 – Clinton 55%, Obama 45%
  15. 15. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 15 Data AnalysisResultsSamples of Election Results from the 2008 Republican Presidential State Primaries  South Carolina 1/19/2008 – McCain 33%, Huckabee 30%, Romney 15%  Florida 1/29/2008 – McCain 36%, Romney 31%  Maine 2/2/2008 – Romney 52%, McCain 21%  Arizona 2/5/2008 – McCain 47%, Romney 34%, Huckabee 9%  Arkansas 2/5/2008 – Huckabee 60%, McCain 20%, Romney 13%  California 2/5/2008 – McCain 42%, Romney 34%, Huckabee 12%  Massachusetts 2/5/2008 – Romney 51%, McCain 41%, Huckabee 4%  Montana 2/5/2008 – Romney 38%, McCain 22%  New York 2/5/2008 – McCain 51%, Romney 28%, Huckabee 11%Theoretical InterpretationFactor analysis utilizing a Likert type scale measures and helps define the strength and validityof claims. The Theory of Reasoned Action TRA examines the variables that lead to behavioralintention, predicting behavior, in this study is used as a strategy for audience segmentation.Careful analysis may lead to determining the public‟s attitudes and voting behavior based uponnegative campaigning. Audience segmentation strategies traditionally based on demographics,psychographics, and or geography aides in classifying groups that strongly identify with specific
  16. 16. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 16 Data AnalysisTheoretical Interpretation (Cont’d)issues, ideas, and candidate to interpret and evaluate results from data obtained. Cluster analysisis considered an atheoretical statistical tool applied in marketing communications and otherdisciplines further categorizing subjective norm factors of beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors inspecific characteristic sets identifying behavioral actions used to evaluate assumptions ofnegative campaigning on the source and those criticized. No one analytical theory is everdefinitive in interpretive analysis, invariably other theories may have subtly influenced theanalysis of the hypothetical assumptions put forth in this paper.Means (Interpretations of Data)A longitudinal survey may have provided differing opinions of the statements made by thecandidates and those criticized providing a more enduring assessment of the impact ofenvironmental events on the population sample. Potential unintentional threats such asexpectancy on the researcher‟s part, lack of procedure validity, or participant‟s exhibiting theHawthorne effect could affect the confidence of the data.In this study inferences were made regarding variables within the population on the basis of therelationships found in the sample selected from the population of eligible voters. The practicalsignificance of the data was reliable however the results were inconclusive in proving theresearch questions posited they are none the less potentially important, necessitating furtherresearch.A chi-square test of the null hypothesis yielded 96% indicating the theory was not valid,therefore the hypothesis was rejected. Type I Error can be further reduced by testing more
  17. 17. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 17 Data AnalysisMeans (Interpretations of Data) (Cont’d)stringent or conservative testing, lowering the alpha level to 0.01%, however doing so wouldlead to a higher likelihood of committing a Type II Error, accepting that the null hypothesis isprobably false, a false negative, meaning the relationship is not significant, when in fact, it is.The 3,000 respondents sample size is more than reasonable to have confidence in rejecting thenull hypothesis (Jaeger, 1990). Levy and Steelman (1996) point out ways of increasingstatistical power, when the most appropriate alpha test is used for the research study.It is important to differentiate effect size from statistical significance (J. Cohen, 1988; Rosenthal,1993). A statistically significant finding only indicates the extent which the results are due tochance. It does not reference how “small” or “large” a finding may be. Therefore, the statisticalfinding is considered as well as how large is the effect size; the estimate of the degree to whichthe phenomena is present in a population and/or the extent to which the null hypothesis is false(Vogt, 1993, p. 79).Difference analysis examined the differences between the categories of the statements made bythe candidates (independent variable) among eligible voters using a nominal scale for data, chi-square test. Ordinal data was analyzed for the Mann-Whitney U-Test scores for all respondents,here statistically significant, providing a high level of confidence to reject the null hypothesis.The means for the attitude and subjective norm factors were assessed as a strategy to indentifydistinct differences between possible cluster solutions. Means provided a measure in which toindentify the level of importance on topics, issues, ideals, and candidates. Distinct opinions andassumptions were developed, however conflicting beliefs and attitudes were not consistent withindividual candidates as expected. Unique groups that share opinions cannot whole embrace an
  18. 18. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 18 Data AnalysisMeans (Interpretations of Data) (Cont’d)individual‟s ideals and positions on the many important issues that face Americans, howeversome groups were found to be closely aligned with some of the candidates. DiscussionPerhaps the negative impact of accusations is dependent on pre-existing notions of ideas, issues,and individuals. Further it is found that people with strong beliefs regarding issues, ideas, andindividuals were not easily swayed and negative statements merely reinforcing per-existingnotions. Belief systems and what constitutes them and what if anything determines the strengthof one‟s convictions. Further those with limited knowledge, issues, ideas, and individuals basetheir assessments of the integrity of those making negative statements and also those accursed.Individual‟s strength of pre-existing beliefs on various issues may not be influenced or beliefsThose with limited knowledge on individuals, ideas, issues, or otherwiseDuring this year‟s 2008 Democratic Primary Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton lost in somestates such as Virginia after harsh criticisms of her rival Barack Obama‟s, while in other statessuch as Pennsylvania she won decisively challenging Barack‟s leadership abilities, perhaps fromthe mounting negative press Barack had experienced in the national media regarding commentsmade regarding American‟s faith. In Florida none of the Democratic Presidential hopefulsadvertised, there was however national attention from several nationally televised debates andpress coverage in the local Florida news sites. Hillary won decisively in Florida, worth notingas the results of the various state primary contests neither support nor disprove the research
  19. 19. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 19 Discussion (Cont’d)conducted regarding the effects and influence on the public regarding strong statementsnegatively directed at political rivals.Republican Presidential front runner John McCain seems to have benefited from his rivalsmention of him in various Democratic debates. Mitt Romney‟s statements attacking McCainseem to have benefited him in Massachusetts and Montana but did not adversely limit McCain‟schances in New York and California where he won by a considerable margin.Republican Presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee did not engage in negative mud slinging. Hisstatements in this study are considered non combative, as such where used as a control formanipulating the (independent variable) of candidate‟s negative statements.Republicans and Democrats alike all won in their home states indicating that local bias wascertainly a factor in this 2008 Presidential Primary.Validity is not a commodity that can be purchased with [statistical] techniques (Brinberg &McGrath, 1985, p. 13). On a conceptual level the findings important but inconclusive, thus theecological validity and replication of this study is impractical.The selection of the participants may have influenced the validity of the conclusions givenstudents typically ranged from age of 18 to 25, being highly educated, and single which mayhave impacted the results of this research. Inter-participant bias most certainly played a role inthe attitudes of those in the study, as students are more susceptible to social pressures than oldervoters. Some of the candidates‟ platforms and statements may have less influence on this youngdemographic than older voters regarding religion, race, sex, or other factors.
  20. 20. Influence of Negative Campaigns on Public Opinion 20Limitations and Future ResearchFactors of attitudes and subjective norms make it difficult to consider and capture all the possibledimensions of extraneous variables. Future and past campaigns might provide evidence thatstrengthens and/or raises doubts about the research questions postulated here. Focusing oncredibility and trust, as key elements is critical to evaluating negative campaign messages. Atthe very least this study offers insights into the transference of attitudes and actions regardingnegative comparative statements supporting existing research on Learning Theory.
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