'96 NASTIES

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Ever-nastier political ads loom as an American way of life, especially during Campaign '96,marketers responding to an Advertising Age Fax Poll agree. "Most voters get their information and images of the contenders from advertising rather than personal research, so true or false it has a direct effect," one respondent noted.

Said another: "Everyone said they hated [negative advertising]. But it worked! It's here to stay." Drawing a parallel to retail realm rebates, one respondent noted: "Although very few would like to admit it, negative ads [when done well] work very effectively. It's kind of like rebates-consumers hate them, but they react to them and buy more than a price reduction for the same amount."

Most Fax Poll respondents didn't see any kind of restriction on political advertising in the cards, despite a general discomfort with the heightened degree of negative political advertising alive in the land. Said one: "Can we legislate sleaze out of the campaigns? It's doubtful without a lot of First Amendment hollering."

Was negative advertising the deciding factor in any '94 races?

Yes: 64% No: 21% Not sure: 15%

Will negative advertising increase in the '96 campaign?

Yes: 79% No: 15% Don't know: 6%

Will President Clinton be vulnerable to negative advertising?

Yes: 100% No: 0%

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