League of Women Voters of California League of Women Voters of California  
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...Connecting People with Government
November 7, 2000
General Election

This press release was emailed to our Smart Voter News distribution list on August 2, 2000:

With the November election hard upon us (or coming fast), we are sharing two significant polls with you. One from Gallup and the other from Yahoo.

The Gallup Poll issued the results of its July 7, 2000 poll on negative campaigning. It shows that the American public has very strong feelings about negative campaigning. Deborah Brooks, a researcher for Gallup wrote, "The American public has little tolerance for negative ads, or for political ads in general. Not only does the public say they dislike seeing such ads, but they largely reject the argument that the information conveyed can be valuable for voters."

Among the results of many questions, the poll finds the following:

  • More than seven in ten Americans feel that bringing up an opponent's extramarital relationships or use of illegal drugs before the person held office are examples of negative campaign tactics.

  • The public, however, is fairly evenly divided in terms of whether they think that mentioning an opponent's ties to special interest groups constitutes negative campaigning, with 42% saying that it does and 54% saying that it does not.

  • At the other end of the spectrum, only one out of five Americans consider bringing up an opponent's stands on issues like education or military spending to be negative.

  • Four-fifths of the public feel that the common tactic of criticizing an opponent for running negative advertisements is itself an example of negative campaigning.

For the complete results of this Gallup Poll, point your browser to <http://www.gallup.com/poll/releases/pr000717.asp>.

Another poll of interest is one from Yahoo on July 20 titled, "As Presidential Election Heats Up, Web Emerges as Important Research Tool." This poll is at <http://biz.yahoo.com/bw/000726/ca_yahoo.html>. There are many important statistics, but one of our favorites says that that nearly 65% of Americans will use the Internet to help them make their voting decisions in the hotly-contested presidential political
race. It seems reasonable that close to 65% will also make use of the information online for deciding on candidates for state and local offices. That is where Smart Voter can make a difference.

With its unique and easy to use ballot lookup with quick response time, Smart Voter provides in-depth material on local and state candidates as well as the League's impartial pros and cons on the state ballot measures. <www.smartvoter.org> is the only address you need to know.


Copyright © 2000 League of Women Voters of California Education Fund.

The League of Women Voters neither supports nor opposes candidates for public office or political parties.