As a general rule of thumb political candidates don’t run negative ads against their opponents unless they are feeling pressed. Negative ads, while often effective, turn off a lot of voters. Studies have shown that it tends to lower voter turnout especially among independents. Actually, some candidates want this as it will improve the chances of them being elected. Only their loyalists will turn out as everyone else is repulsed by the negativity.
Incumbents don’t usually want to resort to running negative ads against their opponent for another reason. It gives the challenger more name recognition and transforms a “nobody” into somebody.
The timing of negative ads gives a clue as to how the incumbent is feeling about his or her chances. The earlier the mud starts to fly, the more trouble the incumbent is in.
Carolyn McCarthy who is finishing up her 7th term of office must be feeling the heat. She has started to go negative against her opponent Fran Becker. With luck, instead of turning off the independent voter, it will piss them off and they will vote for Becker. Let’s keep our fingers crossed!