Research News

More nasty ads expected outcome of Supreme Court ruling

Count on more political attack ads in 2010 after a Supreme Court ruling lifting the ban on corporation and labor donations, according to Vanderbilt University political scientist John Geer.

“The court‘s ruling is no surprise given campaign spending has historically been viewed as a form of free speech,” he said. “The influx of money resulting from this decision means more broadcast advertising, and most of it will be negative.”

While many people say they don‘t like negative ads, the upside will be more opportunities for the public to learn about the candidates, he explained. “The ads might be nasty and misleading, but that should not be our concern. Instead, watch how the news media cover these spots. Do journalists give harsh ads extensive attention that not only adds to their power but provides various political groups even more reason to air them?”

Geer believes that a key and underappreciated part of the process could be the news media‘s role in covering the anticipated surge of attacks in campaigns.

Media contact: Ann Marie Deer Owens, 615-322-NEWS

Editor‘s note: Geer can be reached for interviews at