NewsPolitics2021 Virginia Elections


Campaigns for Virginia governor go negative in final weeks

Terry McAuliffe (D) and Glenn Youngkin (R)
Posted at 3:09 PM, Oct 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-21 17:15:00-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - With under two weeks to go until Election Day in Virginia, negative ads are all over the place right now.

Whether it be on TV, mailers, or social media, it's currently hard to escape the ads. Experts say they can be effective in lessening enthusiasm for an opponent, but they can also backfire.

"Negative ads are tricky within political science. We've been studying them for a long time. They can give you mixed messages," said Dr. Ben Melusky, a political science professor at Old Dominion University.

Melusky says the ads can help a candidate who is trailing. "It can work for you. Typically if you're playing from behind, you can go negative," he said. "If you don't make up ground, you're going to lose anyway."

They can also turn people off. "Negative ads can work against you. If someone sees a negative ad and you're slinging mud, it can work very much as 'oh, they've taken the low road,'" said Melusky.

Voters generally say they hate them. "I just think it's so negative," said Kerry Middlebrooks, a voter in Virginia Beach. "It's over the top. It's gotten to be outrageous and ridiculous."

"I really dislike them. I feel like they're misleading," said Kelly Miller, another Virginia Beach voter.

The ads are also being used in several local competitive House of Delegates races. Don't expect them to end before November 2.

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