A third of Democratic Party advertisements attack Texas Gov. George W. Bush, while only one in five Republican Party ads attacks Vice President Al Gore, according to a University of Wisconsin survey.
For all the talk about negative ads, most Bush and Gore ads are either positive or comparative and attacks remain the exception, says the study by Campaign Media Analysis Group.
The study found that the Republicans and the Democrats each have spent about $31 million on television ads to date.
The Republicans caught up by spending about $8.7 million between Aug. 31 and Sept. 13.
Both parties "continue to ignore regulations separating soft-money ads" meant for party-building from candidate ads, said Kenneth Goldstein, a political science professor at the University of Wisconsin.
"Candidates are leaving the dirty work of negative advertising almost exclusively to the parties," he said.
The comparative-issue ads include tough talk even if they are not personal.
The RNC on Monday began running an ad in 17 states that calls Mr. Gore's prescription-drug plan "a prescription for disaster."
The narrator says Mr. Gore's plan "will charge seniors a new $600-a-year government access fee."
The ad says that in Mr. Gore's plan, when seniors turn 64 they must join "a drug HMO selected by Washington" or they are on their own. The ad says that under Mr. Bush's plan, seniors choose their coverage and it covers all catastrophic health care costs.
The ad is "a disaster for the truth," Gore spokesman Douglas Hattaway said. …