There is no shortage of voters who say they are turned off by negative campaigning and the co-called "attack ads" that can be part of it. Political strategists say it works, sometimes in ways that voters don't even recognize. We talked to a couple of communication experts to explore how it can be both ways.
Perhaps it's because there are two terms that people mistakenly interchange: argumentative behavior and verbal aggressiveness.
According to Drs. Andy Rancer and Yang Lin, it's a distinction not recognized by many: Argumentativeness is issue-based, but verbally aggressive behavior attacks a person's character. Both University of Akron professors recommend that candidates stick with a good old-fashioned argument. Unfortunately, not everyone follows that advice.
The commercials that we see, the ads, are overwhelmingly aggressive behaviors," said Rancer.
Rancer and Lin were guests on the WAKR Ray Horner Morning Show - you can listen to a portion of the interview below:
How do people react to verbal aggression? Rancer says research is not on the side of the aggressor.
"People do not like that," said Rancer. "They don't like it in the family context. They don't like it in the workplace and they certainly don't like it in the political context."
Lin says the use of social media is making it simpler for people to nearly instantly see, hear or watch and interpret communication styles.