Does Confirmation Trump Valence? Confirmation and the Effects of Negative and Positive Political Advertising

Joan M. Phillips, University of Notre Dame, USA
Joel E. Urbany, University of Notre Dame, USA
Thomas J. Reynolds, Univeristy of Texas at Dallas and SRDA, USA
Recent research suggests that negative political advertising may be ineffective because it appeals only to those who already favor the candidate sponsoring the ad. The current study is unique in examining the effects of positive and negative advertising on voter reactions, while accounting for prior candidate preferences. This experiment, conducted shortly before the 2004 U.S. presidential election, found that negative advertising produced more critical responses than positive advertising even for the voter’s favored candidate. Surprisingly, negative advertising was more likely to shift voting intention in the direction of the ad, even when the ad was for the non-favored candidate. An analysis of costs and returns suggests why negative advertising may in fact be effective.
[ to cite ]:
Joan M. Phillips, Joel E. Urbany, and Thomas J. Reynolds (2007) ,"Does Confirmation Trump Valence? Confirmation and the Effects of Negative and Positive Political Advertising", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 34, eds. Gavan Fitzsimons and Vicki Morwitz, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 208.