The battle for control of the U.S. Senate is has inspired an influx on negative campaign advertisements—especially from the side that has the most to lose. The Wall Street Journal,
And Democratic groups, fighting to defend more Senate seats and keep control of the chamber, have been more negative than their Republican counterparts, that independent analysis shows…
The biggest share of the negative vibes isn’t coming directly from the Senate campaign themselves, but rather from independent outside groups supporting candidates from one party or the other; their advertising pushes up the overall negativity.
But relatively more negative ads are flowing out of all Democratic sources, not just outside groups, the analyses show. In that early September period, for example, 70.5% of ads run on behalf of Democrats from all sources were rated as negative, while 39.3% of those run on behalf of Republicans were negative. Among outside groups, 91.4% of ads backing Democrats were negative, while the figure was 77.9% among groups backing Republicans.
Similarly, in the period between Sept. 12 and Sept. 25, the Wesleyan analysis found that just under 40% of negative ads aired directly by Democratic candidates themselves attacked the personal characteristics of their Republican opponents, while all negative campaign ads from Republicans focused on policy fights.