Negative political ads at an all time high

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Posted: Thursday, September 27, 2012 2:19 pm

SARASOTA - In 1984, President Ronald Reagan released a total of 27 television advertisements during his reelection bid. Just over the last two weeks, both President Obama and Mitt Romney have released close to a dozen.

Experts say the candidates, along with supporters like Super PACs have already spent close to $600 million on advertising. Most of the money is being spent in swing states like Florida. Numerous ads are being seen in our area, because the Tampa Bay area is the largest television market in the state.

A majority of the ads shed a negative light on each other's opponent.

"This is about as bad as I have ever seen, on a scale of intensity of the negativity and the frequency and volume of them," said New College Political Science Professor Frank Alcock.

Andrea Torkelson, a political consultant in Bradenton says that even though many people don't like negative ads, they are very effective.

"They take people voting for a particular candidate and they move them into an undecided position. From there, positive ads come along and they move to the other candidate," said Torkelson.

Torkelson says it is possible for a candidate to run a successful race without getting negative. Alcock, however, says its very difficult.

"Trying to stay positive when an opponent is going negative in a close race just has not worked for many candidates," Alcock said.

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