Negative ads have become increasingly common in presidential campaigns. Figure 1 well illustrates this point (see also West 2009). The upcoming 2012 elections will almost surely augment this upward trend of more and more negativity. In fact, with the emergence of Super Pacs, the share of attack ads in 2012 will likely be significantly higher than in 2008, which in and of itself was the high-water mark for attack ads in the modern era. The harsh tone of the battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination certainly points toward an exceptionally nasty fall campaign.
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