EFFECTS OF NEGATIVE AND POSITIVE CAMPAIGNING ON SWEDISH VOTERS’. Experimental evidence from a real election campaign context.

Detta är en Master-uppsats från Göteborgs universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Sammanfattning: It is often presumed that negative campaigning has negative effects on the electorate. For example, this campaign strategy is presumed to suppress political participation, decrease trust in politicians and contribute to cynicism. Although far from all studies find support for these presumptions, there are empirical evidence suggesting that negativity decrease political efficacy, trust in government, and overall public mood. However, there is an absence of studies focusing on the effect of negative campaigning on Swedish voters’. Instead, almost all empirical knowledge is based on American citizens’. Since the political system, the campaign traditions and the electorate diverge substantially in the two countries, the external validity of those studies can be questionable. Consequently, the aim of this study is to undertake the first examination about the effects of negative campaigning on Swedish voters’. This study examines two effects of negative campaigning, as compared to the effects of positive campaigning: Political participation and trust in politicians. These effects are studied within a Swedish context, using an experiment that is conducted in the midst of an ongoing election campaign. The empirical findings do not support the notion that negative campaigning suppresses political participation. However, positive campaigning appears to have a demobilizing effect for voters’ with low political knowledge. For highly knowledgeable voters’, positive campaigning does by contrast seem to stimulate participation. Furthermore, the findings suggest that negative television advertisements, as well as positive television advertisements, decrease trust in politicians.

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