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Negative ads drive voters to minor parties

By Canfan - 28 June 2016 10

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As we head into the final days of an election campaign, new research from the ANU has found negative political advertising is driving people to vote for minor parties and independents.

Political marketing researcher Dr Andrew Hughes of the ANU Research School of Management has studied political advertising, based on measuring people’s reactions to ads from previous elections, and found most political advertising is ineffective.

“Political advertising does not work. It doesn’t get attention, it’s not remembered all that well,” Dr Hughes said.

Dr Hughes said his study found the negative messages used in advertising by the major parties was particularly ineffective.

“Whilst attack adverts certainly bring up the emotions, they don’t convince people to change their vote. If anything negative advertising made people angry with the political process,” Dr Hughes said.

“When people do remember negative advertising it’s because they hate the ads. That’s not a good thing. You want people to like your ads because it means they will remember what’s in the message.”

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The research was conducted by measuring biometric changes in people’s body, notably in heart rate and skin conductance, which measures the trace electricity produced after being exposed to political advertisements.

Dr Hughes said that while politicians still enjoy making ads that bring down their opponents, their effect was to push people towards the minor parties and independents.

“What I’ve noticed in this election more than anything else is that people are saying ‘I don’t like the ads for the major parties, this time around I’ll be voting independent’, “ Dr Hughes said.

“People have been quite clear on how they’re thinking as a consumer, that they’ve had enough of this form of advertising. They want positive messages, so the minor parties and independents seem positive, even though their policies might not be.

“This makes up part of the Nick Xenophon effect as well. He seems different, he seems positive because he’s not using these campaign methods.”

Dr Hughes said instead of negative advertising, political parties would be better off spending their money on developing positive ads and grass roots campaigning.

“Put the majority of the money into grass-roots campaigning like social media engagement, town hall events, meet-and-greets, a good website and policy delivery,” he said.

Pictured above are stills from the ALP’s advertisement arguing the Coalition plans to privatise Medicare and from the Liberals’ clip stating that Bill Shorten offers the “same old Labor”.

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10 Responses to
Negative ads drive voters to minor parties
rommeldog56 6:43 pm 29 Jun 16

Paul Costigan said :

Unfortunately, past performance is a more reliable indicator of thought processes – much more than the spin doctoring appearing at the moment. We can only judge the devils we know on what they and their parties have done in the past, and what we hope for the future.

In which case, if u vote Labor, Greens or Liberal, there wouldn’t appear much to look forward to…….

madelini 10:01 am 29 Jun 16

JoueurBoy said :

Bonkers said :

A much better way to find out the intentions of the parties is to look at the underlining ideologies, and find out what they’ve done in the past.

To paraphrase an advert from TV, “Past performance is not a good indicator of future performance”.
… It’s a case of “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” for Australians and that is a pretty dismal reality.

Unfortunately, past performance is a more reliable indicator of thought processes – much more than the spin doctoring appearing at the moment. We can only judge the devils we know on what they and their parties have done in the past, and what we hope for the future.

rommeldog56 7:19 am 29 Jun 16

Bonkers said :

Masquara said :

Anybody who believes Federal Labors fear campaign advertising spin that Liberals will “privatise” Medicare, has rocks in their heads. It’s just insulting to voters. It just turns voters off.

Why is it insulting? The neoliberal philosophy is bitterly opposed to the idea of universal health care, and the Liberals have already dismantled medicare (although it was known as medibank back then) once before under Fraser. The Labor Party had to come in under Hawke in order to reintroduce Medicare once again. When universal health care was first introduced to Australia under Whitlam, the liberal party also fought that with extreme lengths in favor of a free-market approach. The idea that the Liberal party doesn’t want to see Medicare destroyed is absurd – it’s a VERY core part of the underlying ideology of the party.

I’d agree that the wording of the Labour campaign can be misleading, but the problem is that people have different definitions of privatisation depending on their political affiliation. Labour (and generally people aligned to the left) believe that privatisation is the process that ultimately delivers government services to the private sector. The liberals (and generally people aligned to the right) think privatisation is the wholesale selling of the system. This is a problem with the campaign, because everyone knows that the Liberals will bludgeon medicare to death as opposed to a direct sale.

The Liberals are correct in saying that it’s a fear campaign, but it can only be considered that from their perspective. The Labour party are equally right to say that the liberals want to privatise medicare, but once again they’re using that word in terms of a definition that some people might not agree with. Neither party is incorrect in their statements.

People shouldn’t be listening to the political ads anyway. A much better way to find out the intentions of the parties is to look at the underlining ideologies, and find out what they’ve done in the past. Going into the election with that approach is far better then voting because Party A said they would do X, or Party B said that Party A would do Y.

Thats your view. So be it. To me, there is just so much wrong with your comments that its not worth commenting on.

When I see Bill Shorten bending down to a child in a wheelchair and saying “dont worry, we wont sell Medicare” (not an actual word for word quote) – then that IS the politics of fear and is unacceptable. And I certainly wont be voting Liberal in the Federal election for a number of reasons either. We badly need change in political dialogue and leadership in this country but that wont happen unless voters tell politicians so.

wildturkeycanoe 6:37 am 29 Jun 16

Bonkers said :

A much better way to find out the intentions of the parties is to look at the underlining ideologies, and find out what they’ve done in the past.

To paraphrase an advert from TV, “Past performance is not a good indicator of future performance”.
If everybody was to make their choice based on historical promises and actions, the Liberal and Labor parties would both receive a tiny fraction of the vote. Both have repeatedly made promises and then reneged on them once in power. “There are lies, damned lies and statistics” when it comes to those two, just look up “broken promises” with Liberal or Labor after that and see what I mean. The rest of the parties have never held power, so have no credibility or proven track record let alone history of action to give us an idea what their fundamental purpose is. How can anybody make a choice between two poorly performing, bickering and name calling “Lord of the fly” tribes and a bunch of unknowns who generally have blinkers on to push their one main policy?
It’s a case of “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” for Australians and that is a pretty dismal reality.

I am a Rabbit™ 11:05 pm 28 Jun 16

Masquara said :

Anybody who believes Federal Labors fear campaign advertising spin that Liberals will “privatise” Medicare, has rocks in their heads. It’s just insulting to voters. It just turns voters off.

Why is it insulting? The neoliberal philosophy is bitterly opposed to the idea of universal health care, and the Liberals have already dismantled medicare (although it was known as medibank back then) once before under Fraser. The Labor Party had to come in under Hawke in order to reintroduce Medicare once again. When universal health care was first introduced to Australia under Whitlam, the liberal party also fought that with extreme lengths in favor of a free-market approach. The idea that the Liberal party doesn’t want to see Medicare destroyed is absurd – it’s a VERY core part of the underlying ideology of the party.

I’d agree that the wording of the Labour campaign can be misleading, but the problem is that people have different definitions of privatisation depending on their political affiliation. Labour (and generally people aligned to the left) believe that privatisation is the process that ultimately delivers government services to the private sector. The liberals (and generally people aligned to the right) think privatisation is the wholesale selling of the system. This is a problem with the campaign, because everyone knows that the Liberals will bludgeon medicare to death as opposed to a direct sale.

The Liberals are correct in saying that it’s a fear campaign, but it can only be considered that from their perspective. The Labour party are equally right to say that the liberals want to privatise medicare, but once again they’re using that word in terms of a definition that some people might not agree with. Neither party is incorrect in their statements.

People shouldn’t be listening to the political ads anyway. A much better way to find out the intentions of the parties is to look at the underlining ideologies, and find out what they’ve done in the past. Going into the election with that approach is far better then voting because Party A said they would do X, or Party B said that Party A would do Y.

wildturkeycanoe 10:16 pm 28 Jun 16

We are going to need an extra week of recycling collections to get rid of all the junk mail from the election campaign.
One disappointing thing about what I found in the mailbox today was not just the negative, blame the other guy propaganda. The opposing candidate briefly told their life story, but made no mention of their policies or why we should vote for them. Totally unconvincing and a waste of paper, ink and time.
At least my pet rabbit has plenty of things to chew on and rip up.

rommeldog56 8:43 pm 28 Jun 16

Genie said :

I want someone who shows a bit of leadership. None of this sledging or blaming: they (other party) did this and it is effecting us (my party) that’s why blah blah blah. The negativity of both major parties creates such bad economic vibes. If they don’t get their act into gear and do something positive for the country we might end up like Britain and the problems they are having right now. Such a shame. Think carefully everyone when you vote on Saturday.

+ 1,000.

Well said.

rommeldog56 8:41 pm 28 Jun 16

I dont think its as much the negative adds that tums voters off as it is the relentless lies and spin of the major parties and their supporters/proxies.

Just look at this “opinion” piece on RiotAct as an example of the negativity and what i regard as the downright nastiness that pervades politicians and ex politicians nowday’s.

http://the-riotact.com/zed-van-winkle/179451

Anybody who believes Federal Labors fear campaign advertising spin that Liberals will “privatise” Medicare, has rocks in their heads. It’s just insulting to voters. It just turns voters off.

Zan 4:05 pm 28 Jun 16

I want someone who shows a bit of leadership. None of this sledging or blaming: they (other party) did this and it is effecting us (my party) that’s why blah blah blah. The negativity of both major parties creates such bad economic vibes. If they don’t get their act into gear and do something positive for the country we might end up like Britain and the problems they are having right now. Such a shame. Think carefully everyone when you vote on Saturday.

madelini 3:35 pm 28 Jun 16

I don’t think it’s just the ads driving people to the independents, I think it’s the general apathy that seems to be surrounding this entire election campaign. There’s a very real sense that the two major parties are offering the same thing, just in a different coloured tie.

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