University of Virginia professor Paul Freedman, along with three of his colleagues, recently wrote a book examining political advertising from the 2004 election.

 In the book, Campaign Advertising and American Democracy, Freedman and his co-authors state that negative television ads actually have a more positive effect on voters’ views. These findings, released in January 2008, conflict with previous research indicating that negative political advertising has a harmful effect on public discourse.  

Freedman’s book also indicates that the more potential voters view political marketing, the more likely they are to vote. Claiming that the American public suffers from an impoverished diet of political information” and that those political ads that are the most criticized by analysts are actually “frequently informative, often funny, usually clever, and just a whole lot of fun.”

According to book reviewer Darrell West of Brown University, this book is “the most comprehensive examination of political advertising that has been attempted to date.” 

In addition to his duties at UVA, Freedman has also served as an election analyst for ABC News. Freedman’s co-authors for “Campaign Advertising and American Democracy,” are Kenneth Goldstein, a political science professor for the University of Wisconsin; Travis Ridout, a political science assistant professor at Washington State University; and Michael Franz, a government and legal assistant professor at Bowdoin College.