Rowman and Littlefield International

New Perspectives on Negative Campaigning

Why Attack Politics Matters

Edited by Dr Alessandro Nai and Annemarie Walter

This unique volume presents for the first time work examining negative campaigning in the US, Europe and beyond.

Ebook ISBN: 9781785521942 Release date: Oct 2016
£28.50 €39.00 $46.50
Hardback ISBN: 9781785521287 Release date: Oct 2015
£65.00 €90.00 $105.00
Paperback ISBN: 9781785522369 Release date: Oct 2016
£30.00 €41.00 $49.00

Pages: 424

ECPR Press

Have you ever seen a politician fiercely attacking his opponent? Sure you have. Election campaigns without attacks on the rival candidate's performance, policy propositions and traits simply do not exist. Negative campaigning makes up a substantial part of election campaigns around the world. Though heavily covered in election news, the practice is strongly disliked by political pundits, journalists and voters. Some are even concerned that negative campaigning damages democracy itself. Negative campaigning has inspired numerous scholars in recent decades. But much of the existing research examines the phenomenon only in the United States, and scholars disagree on how the practice should be defined and measured, which has resulted in open-ended conclusions about its causes and effects. This unique volume presents for the first time work examining negative campaigning in the US, Europe and beyond. It presents systematic literature overviews and new work that touches upon three fundamental questions: What is negative campaigning and can we measure it? What causes negative campaigning? And what are its effects?


Abbreviations ix

List of Figures and Tables xiii

Contributors xix

Preface and Acknowledgements xxv

Chapter One – The War of Words: The Art of Negative Campaigning 1

Alessandro Nai and Annemarie S. Walter


Chapter Two – Functional Theory: Negative Campaigning in

Political Television Spots 35

William Benoit

Chapter Three – What is Negative about Negative Advertisements? 47

Barbara Allen and Daniel Stevens

Chapter Four – Comparing Measures of Campaign Negativity: Expert

Judgements, Manifestos, Debates, and Advertisements 63

François Gélineau and André Blais

Chapter Five – Attack, Support, and Coalitions in a Multiparty System:

Understanding Negative Campaigning in a Country with a Coalition

Government 75

Wouter de Nooy and Jan Kleinnijenhuis


Chapter Six – Explaining the Use of Attack Behaviour in the Electoral

Battlefield: A Literature Overview 97

Annemarie S. Walter and Alessandro Nai

Chapter Seven – Negative Campaigning in Proportional Representation

(Yet Non-Coalition) Systems: Evidence from Switzerland 115

Damien Bol and Marian Bohl

Chapter Eight – Do Female Candidates Feel Compelled to Meet Sex-Role

Expectations or Are They as Tough as Men? A Content Analysis on the

Gender-Specific Use of Attacks in German Televised Debates 129

Jürgen Maier

Chapter Nine – Going Negative in Direct-Democratic Campaigns 147

Laurent Bernhard

Chapter Ten – When Do Parties Attack their Competitors? Negative

Campaigning in Austria, 2002–08 165

Martin Dolezal, Laurenz Ennser-Jedenastik and Wolfgang C. Müller

Chapter Eleven – The Strategy of Electoral Spots in Brazilian Presidential

Campaign: The Decision on When and Where to Broadcast an Attack 183

Felipe Borba

Chapter Twelve – Understanding Negativity Within and Among Different

Levels of Governments: Evidence from Turkey 201

Emre Toros

Chapter Thirteen – An OCEAN of Negativity: An Experimental

Assessment on Personality Traits and the Chances to ‘Go Dirty’

in Debates on Political Issues 217

Alessandro Nai, Valentina Holecz, Mario Marchesini,

Adrien Petitpas and Ben Sanogo-Willers


Chapter Fourteen – How Negative Campaigning Impinges on the Political

Game: A Literature Overview 235

Alessandro Nai and Annemarie S. Walter

Chapter Fifteen – The Effects of Advertising Tone on Information

Processing and Vote Choice 249

Richard R. Lau and David P. Redlawsk

Chapter Sixteen – How the News Media Amplify Negative Messages 267

Travis N. Ridout and Annemarie S. Walter

Chapter Seventeen – When Do Attacks Work? Moderated Effects on Voters’

Candidate Evaluation in a Televised Debate 287

Wouter de Nooy and Jürgen Maier

Chapter Eighteen – Feeding the Negative? Referendum Votes in Ireland 307

Theresa Reidy and Jane Suiter

Chapter Nineteen – Where to Go From Here in the Study of Negative

Campaigning: The Comparative Challenge Ahead 327

Annemarie S. Walter and Alessandro Nai

Bibliography 335

Index 385

Alessandro Nai is Lecturer in empirical methods at the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Geneva (Switzerland). His work deals with citizens' behaviour in referenda and elections, political psychology, and campaigning effects. He is currently co-directing a three-year SNSF research project (2012-2015) on negative campaigning in Switzerland, with a special focus on its causes and effects. He has been a visiting fellow at the Rutgers University, USA (2008-2009) and at the University of Sydney, Australia (2014). Recent journal articles include ‘What really matters is which camp goes dirty: differential effects of negative campaigning on turnout during Swiss federal ballots’ (European Journal of Political Research, 2013) and ‘The Cadillac, the mother-in-law, and the ballot: individual and contextual roots of ambivalence in Swiss direct democracy’ (Electoral Studies, 2014).

Annemarie Walter is a Marie Curie Fellow in the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Nottingham. She received her PhD in 2012 from the University of Amsterdam. Prior to that she was an Assistant Professor in the Communication Science Department at VU Amsterdam. Dr Walter is currently working on a three-year Marie Curie/ NRF research project (2014-2017) entitled CSNCC: Comparative Study of Negative Campaigning and its Consequences. She has published numerous articles in international peer-reviewed journals such as Comparative Political Studies, Political Studies, Party Politics, Acta Politica and the Harvard International Journal of Press/Politics.

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