BLACKSBURG, Va. – Election Day is less than two weeks away, and candidates are doing everything they can to win votes. That includes airing political ads, some of which can have a negative tone.
"We will tend to see more ads the closer one gets to the campaign," said Dr. Karen Hult, professor and chair of Virginia Tech's political science department. "We've seen some of them all the way through the primary and general election season."
Hult said candidates often start with more positive ads, trying to introduce themselves and their views. She said they sometimes transition to attack or negative ads after that.
"I think some of the answer is that a lot of campaign consultants believe negative ads work," Hult said.
Hult said voters pay attention to negative ads and people often remember the information in them, however they usually have limited impact on the election.
"By and large we don't really see that it has that much effect in general," Hult said. "It has some targeted effects, but not very much to speak of."
Hult said campaigns are now in their final push to earn votes, and are willing to spend money to do it.
"We know quite a lot of money is flowing into all of the campaigns," Hult said. "Mr. (Corey) Stewart, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat, had said that he's finally going to start running more campaign ads because he's been trailing Sen. (Tim) Kaine of course, in terms of money and campaign ads."
Hult said this year's midterm elections have drawn increased attention across the country, which could translate into more voters on Election Day.
"It's interesting, in this part of Virginia exactly, it's not clear to me how much more of a spike in turnout we're going to see," Hult said. "In other parts of the state, and other parts of the country, at least on early voting totals, we're seeing a lot higher turnout than we've seen in the past."