Separate and Unequal Effects: Information, Political Sophistication and Negative Advertising in American Elections.

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    • Abstract:
      This article examines the effects of negative political advertising in American elections. Studies of negative advertising have become unproductively bogged down on the question of whether or not more or less exposure to negative advertising leads to higher or lower turnout. I take a step back in the causal chain by looking at its effect on the kinds of information individuals bring to the voting decision. I present and test a theory that individuals lower in political sophistication gain little or no information from negative advertising. In contrast, higher sophisticates gain a great deal of information. The theory is tested in an experiment and through analysis of American National Election Study (ANES) data. The results are largely confirmatory. Analysis of the ANES data also illustrates that the effects of exposure to negative advertising on information levels differ from, and are more normatively troubling than, those of positive advertising. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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