Negative, Angry, and Ubiquitous: Political Advertising in 2012

Erika Franklin Fowler 1  und Travis N. Ridout 2
  • 1 Assistant Professor, Department of Government, Wesleyan University, 238 Church Street, Middletown, CT 06459, USA
  • 2 Associate Professor and Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Government and Public Policy, School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, Washington State University, Johnson Tower, Troy Lane, Pullman, 99164-4800 Washington, DC, USA

Abstract

Record amounts of money went to purchase television advertising during the 2012 election cycle, resulting in unprecedented volumes of advertising. This increase was due in part to the ease with which outside groups, such as super PACs, were able to raise and spend advertising dollars in the current, post-Citizens United, regulatory regime. Advertising in 2012 was also extremely negative, especially at the presidential level, and frequently evoked the emotion of anger. Yet whether 2012 marks the high point for spending on advertising – and whether the negativity will abate in the next presidential election – remain open questions.

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This journal provides a forum for professionally informed commentary on issues affecting contemporary American politics. This includes but is not limited to issues engaging parties, elections, and political participation; the news media, interest groups, Congress, the Presidency, and the Courts; trends in public finance, presidential popularity, congressional productivity; in contemporary, historical, or comparative perspective.

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