Democrats haven’t been afraid to get personal on the airwaves in an effort to keep control of the Senate.
Between Sept. 12 and 25, every negative ad paid for by Republican candidates focused on policy issues, while nearly 40 percent of those paid for by Democratic candidates were personal attacks on their opponent, according to a Wesleyan Media analysis reported by The Wall Street Journal.
More than 70 percent of all ads aired on behalf of Senate Democrats were rated negative compared to about 40 percent of those aired on behalf of Republicans.
Senate Democrats have complained loudly about the proliferation of negative ads following the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, which struck down restrictions on when and how much corporations could spend on elections.
They took a vote to overturn the ruling via constitutional amendment just before the September period analyzed by Wesleyan Media. “These negative, poisonous, untruthful ads have just proliferated,” Minnesota Democratic Sen. Al Franken said at a press conference announcing the vote. (Shut Up Already! Senate Dems Want To Amend The Constitution To Stop Koch Brothers’ Ads)
A greater portion of ads — mostly negative — are indeed coming from outside groups, Travis Ridout, co-director of the Media Project, told the WSJ. More than 90 percent of ads from outside groups supporting Democrats, such as Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC, were negative, compared to about 78 percent of ads from outside groups supporting Republicans.
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