The Electronic Election: Perspectives on the 1996 Campaign Communication

By Lynda Lee Kaid; Dianne G. Bystrom | Go to book overview

CHAPTER
18
The Effects of Technological Distortions on Voter Reactions to Televised Political Advertising

Lynda Lee Kaid Yang Lin University of Oklahoma

Gary A. Noggle Bethel College

Voters in the 1996 presidential campaign were confronted with two major party presidential candidates, each of whom seemed to be trying to "outnegative" the other. Both candidates certainly succeeded in producing a large number of negative ads, the contents of which were in some ways technologically sophisticated and unusually manipulative. As mentioned by Kaid and Tedesco (chap. 15, this volume), both the Dole and Clinton campaigns had very high percentages of negative ads. These negative spots, which previous research has shown are particularly likely to contain technological distortions ( Kaid, 1996b, 1996c), made up the great majority of images most voters will remember from the 1996 campaign. The concern addressed by the research reported in this chapter is how dominant such technological distortions were in 1996 and whether or not such techniques affected how voters actually judged the candidates.


VIDEO TECHNOLOGY AND MANIPULATIONS IN POLITICAL SPOTS

Few dispute the dominance of the presidential campaign process achieved by political advertising in the past few decades ( Kaid, 1996a). Candidates for president now spend well over half of their campaign budgets on the production and airing of televised political spots ( Devlin, 1989), and the

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