The Corner

Is This Campaign Really More Negative Than Past Campaigns?

The lead story in today’s New York Times is “Poll Says McCain Is Hurting His Bid By Using Attacks.”  It’s based on a new Times survey showing that about one-quarter of the one-fifth of the people who say they think less of McCain than in the past have changed their opinion because of McCain’s attacks on Barack Obama.

But the paper also found that not that many people believe this campaign is more negative than past years.  The Times asked, “Compared with past presidential campaigns, do you think the campaign has been more positive this year, more negative this year, or about the same?” Thirty percent of respondents said this year is more negative than past campaigns, while 53 percent said it’s about the same.

That 30 percent figure is lower than this point in 2004, when 41 percent said the campaign was more negative than previous years.  At this point in 1992, 34 percent said the campaign was more negative.  And at this point in 1988, 47 percent said it was more negative.  (As for the other years, in 1996, few people thought the campaign was more negative than previous years, and the Times did not include data from 2000.)

Byron York — Byron York is is the author of The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy.

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