Date Presented

Spring 4-1-2006

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Political Science

First Advisor

Timothy Meinke

Second Advisor

Edward DeClair

Third Advisor

Phillip Stump

Abstract

This paper will attempt to examine the effect which negative political advertising has upon the voting public. Hypothesizing that negative advertising actually mobilizes the public to vote, this paper shall assert that there is a definite distinction within that mobilization. Within the experimental design it will be hypothesized that negative advertising mobilizes partisan voters to participate in the electoral process while it discourages those independent voters within a population. This paper will review the works regarding negative campaigning within the political world, in order to introduce the reader to the research previously conducted on the direct effect of negative advertising on voter turnout. After this acquaintance with the literature, a case study of the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial race will be undertaken. Finally, an experimental design will be carried out which will analyze the effect of negative advertisements within the 2005 Virginia gubernatorial election. In the end, this paper will demonstrate that although negative advertising causes controversy within the public, it is an effective means of voter mobilization along partisan lines.