Here’s Why Negative Political Campaigns Work

Written by on February 16, 2016 in Government, Politics with 3 Comments

negative ad campaign

By Team Tony | Human Elevation

As the political campaigns of 2016 kicked into full gear last month, we started seeing negative campaign tactics emerge, as reported by the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. And this year is purported to be the “most negative, ugly, nasty presidential campaign in modern U.S. history.”

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Why do politicians use negative campaign tactics? Because they work. Here’s why:

It comes down to metaprograms, the subconscious filters that shape our perceptions of the outside world. And in particular, the motivation direction metaprogram which determines the type of consequences that are likely to move us to action.

All human behavior revolves around the urge to gain pleasure or avoid pain. A person that has a toward motivation direction will move toward what they want — the potential pleasure. They are goal- and achievement-oriented, focused on the possibilities, opportunities and visions of the future.

A person with an away from motivation moves away from what they don’t want — the potential pain. It is estimated that the vast majority of the population operates from this direction, focusing on the risks and consequences involved in a scenario and how they can be avoided.

And within each of these movements towards pleasure or away from pain, individuals may also react in varying degrees. Some people are energetic, curious risk-takers, who feel most comfortable moving toward something that excites them. Others tend to be more cautious, wary and protection, and focus much more on moving away from anything that they perceive to be threatening or harmful.

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This is why some people are particularly fearful of terrorism and may opt for a candidate who has a more aggressive approach to foreign policy. Or why someone may be particularly wary of the threat of domestic violence and favor strict gun control measures.


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3 Reader Comments

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  1.' Kathleen Lake says:

    Makes me lose respect for candidate generating neg. Ads.

  2.' Daniel Waters says:

    Melissa Kolega um

  3.' Brenda Olds Killian says:


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