With the primaries over, candidates are gearing up for the fall election season. This means that, until Nov. 4, voters can expect to experience a barrage of negative political advertising almost everywhere they turn.
Do these attack ads work? Is negative campaigning an effective political strategy? A distinguished panel headed by renowned University of South Florida political analyst Dr. Susan MacManus will address these and related questions at an upcoming dinner forum.
Political Campaign Ads: Why Did You Approve This Message?
Tuesday, Sept. 16
6 to 8:15 p.m.
Conference Center, SPC’s Seminole Campus
9200 113th Street N, Seminole
The event is sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College as part of the Institute’s Village Square Series. Media co-sponsors are the Tampa Bay Times and WEDU. Advance registration is required.
Negative advertising, once employed only rarely by campaigns desperate to gain traction, has become standard practice in today’s political arena. It is in part fueled by recent court rulings that permit Political Action Committees to collect and spend virtually unlimited amounts of money to inform voters about election issues.
What are the effects of these mud-slinging campaigns on the American political system? Do they actually move people to vote a certain way or discourage people from voting at all, as a silent protest of the negativity? Dr. MacManus, a nationally recognized political analyst, will be joined by two Pinellas County political consultants to provide insights from personal experience and answer questions from the audience. The program also will feature a reel of classic commercials from presidential campaigns going back to television’s early days in 1952.
The other panel members are:
- Jack Hebert, founder and president, the Mallard Group, a Clearwater political consulting and direct mail firm
- Gregory Wilson, president and creative officer, Parsons Wilson, a St. Petersburg political consulting firm
- Al Ruechel, senior anchor of Bay News 9, who will serve as moderator
Negative political advertising is not new. It existed in the early days of America’s founding, when political parties emerged from the Revolution against Britain and vied for power. The second and third presidents of the new nation, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, were the targets of vicious cartoons and illustrations. But in the Electronic Age of the 21st Century it has taken on new forms with new power to reach wider audiences, and it has a virtually unlimited reservoir of special-interest money to finance its dissemination.
The forum will provide insights on this political strategy and offer audience members a chance to weigh in with their views via the Institute’s instant-polling technology.
Admission to the dinner and program is:
$25 for Village Square members and educators
$30 for guests
$20 for students.
Advance registration is required at solutions.spcollege.edu.