Presidential Election Psychology


September 8, 2004


Period 4 Psychology Psychology Essay


Over the various amounts of presidential elections that have occurred, many parties have used negative campaigning to decrease the amount of votes for the opposing runner. Although these campaigns are somewhat brutal, they sometimes have a reverse effect and cause a drop in votes for the party that ran the negative ad. However, most of the campaigning affects the party that uses it in a positive way.


In today’s political climate negative campaigning is taking its toll on John Kerry. After the Swift Boaters for Truth launched their ads votes for John Carry have dropped significantly. Although the Bush Administration has not endorsed these ads they are doing nothing to stop them because they know that it will help get more votes in favor of the Bush administration. Ads like these have been taking part throughout most presidential elections, and have had many effects on the voting public.


In this years race to be president; both the Bush Administration and the Kerry Administration have launched negative ads on each other. Many voters have changed their opinion about Kerry after hearing that his service medals weren’t truthfully earned. For example the Swift Boaters for Truth said that Kerry self inflicted his wound to get his purple heart, and they are also challenging whether or not he is a true war hero or not. Many voters have mixed feelings for this but many stay loyal, as well as revolt and vote against the most negative.


Negative political ads have many effects on voter opinions, whether they are positive or negative effects, they still determine the way people vote. For example, if an ad is too negative the voter might feel sympathy for the other candidate and vote for him or her instead. Thus the reverse effect will ensue, leaving the original candidate stunned at what happened and wondering how he let his advisors talk him into endorsing the ads. The reality of this whole thing is, that it is a wise move to use negative campaigning, but there is a line, which when crossed cannot be crossed in the other direction.


All votes considered, negative campaigning can have many effects on the public and can turn the tides of the polls. Many presidential administrations have used this tactic and found that it is quite useful, but at the same time many of them still don’t see the downside to it all. That downside is that many don’t realize how far they have gone until they see that they have not reaped the benefits of using this somewhat mentally brutal tactic. All in all it’s the voters’ opinion of the candidate that counts and that is the only thing that will get a president elected.