Students react to negative political advertisements

With elections just around the corner, some candidates have been taking advantage of advertising on radio, TV and even the Internet.

The most notable case, the senate race between Democrat incumbent Mark Pryor and Republican challenger and current Representative Tom Cotton has seen both candidates and outside organizations turn to negative advertising — and Arkansas Tech University students have noticed.

Nalma Goldsborough, a senior allied health student from Russellville, said, “I think that they’re not focusing on the issues. They’re focusing on trying to tear down the other candidate.”

However, Dr. Michael Rogers, associate professor of political science, said students need to realize a candidate is not always responsible for the negative advertising.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand that a good portion of these ads are outside of the candidates’ control,” Roger said.

With many current students being either first- or second-time voters, there are many new votes at stake.

“People who are most susceptible to negative ads influencing their vote for a candidate are ones who aren’t highly informed about the candidates,” Rogers said.

Recently, it seems candidates have turned to more positive advertisements in a last-minute attempt to win over voters. But the advertising tactics should not play a role in how voters turn to the polls.

“People get discouraged. They’re frustrated by how negative these elections have been,” Rogers said. “When there are competitive elections, your vote matters more, and that’s the incentive that should drive people out to vote.”

Early voting is currently in progress, and Election Day is Nov. 4.