Goin' Negative

It's only a few more days until the elections and things have been heating up, particularly here in New Hampshire. While the gubernatorial race is pretty much a foregone conclusion, the two congressional races are close, with most polls showing them too close to call.

With few exceptions, almost all of the political ads here have gone negative.

According to an ABC News Tonight report (sorry, no link yet available), this is a nationwide trend, with a large majority of the political ads on TV and radio airing being negative. The ads aren't aimed at those voters that have already made up their minds. Instead, they are aimed at those few voters that have yet to decide. Those few undecideds can be the difference between a candidate winning or losing.

While negative ads can be informative, they too often skirt the edge of outright lies. The typical ad will inform the voting public that a candidate voted for or against some bill that their opponent would have voted differently. After recording a few of those ads, I looked closely at the bills referenced (most carried the bill numbers as part of the ad). In a few cases an officeholder voted against a bill they otherwise would have voted for because someone attached a rider to the legislation that would have authorized something the officeholder opposed. This forced the vote to kill an otherwise desirable piece of legislation. So sometimes we have to take claims by opponents with a grain of salt, even if they are factual. Even so, I know I'm getting tired of the negative ads.

Thank goodness election day is four days away.

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