Pundits and commentators are forecasting that this fall's general election will see an avalanche of negative advertising. But as voters gird for the onslaught, political scientists are asking a different question: Will it matter?
When the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on private advertising in elections, superPACs supporting President Obama and the most likely Republican nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, promised to unleash negative attacks on the other side.
But earlier in the contest, the loudest voice promoting the former Pennsylvania senator wasn't the candidate himself. It was Foster Friess, a multimillionaire who was the main funder of a pro-Santorum superPAC.
With a GOP presidential primary coming up on April 3, Wisconsin voters have found themselves besieged by political ads, reports NPR's David Schaper on Friday's Morning Edition.
Talking to voters in La Crosse, Schaper found that residents have grown weary of the onslaught. It has been massive: The Red, White And Blue Fund — the superPAC supporting Rick Santorum — has so far spent almost a half-million dollars on ads attacking front-runner Mitt Romney.
Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas billionaire who along with his wife has used a superPAC to pour about $15 million worth of support behind Newt Gingrich's bid for the Republican presidential nomination, told reporters earlier this week that the former House speaker's campaign appears to be "at the end of his line."
Comedian Bill Maher's $1 million check to the superPAC supporting President Obama's re-election is the first seven-figure donation to the group since Obama tacitly endorsed the fundraising strategy in early February.
And it has brought new focus to some of Maher's statements about women — specifically Republican women — and led to calls for the White House to disavow the HBO host and his money.