This study focuses on how people respond to viewing negative tweets by politicians about their opponent. Negative ads are a staple of political campaigning, and that has not changed as campaigns have moved online. However, attacking your political opponent on Twitter represents a remarkable departure from traditional negative ads. Twitter heavily restricts the space you have to attack your opponent, forcing you to get right to the point. In addition, the fact that many people access Twitter through their phones means politicians have access to voters essentially twenty-four hours a day. In this study, I measure the approval/disapproval rating of the negative posts themselves, as well as the feelings towards the politicians after reading attack posts by them. I use both an Amazon MTURK survey, showing people negative tweets, as well as a content analysis of politician’s accounts during an election. I analyze them to understand how people feel about politician’s posting negative content as well as how they feel about the content itself, and the impacts that posting lots of attacks can have on a politician’s standing in the polls. My findings shed light on how people evaluate the posting of attacks, and the politicians who sent them, as well as a possible connection between higher numbers of attack posts and lower polling numbers.
Todd, Jackson, "Examining the Effects of Negative Attacks on Twitter" (2021). Senior Independent Study Theses. Paper 9304.
Campaigning, Twitter, Negative Attacks, Social Media, Politicians
Bachelor of Arts
Senior Independent Study Thesis
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