Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Publication Date



Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, College of


Political Science, Department of

BURS Faculty Advisor

Dr. Vaughn May

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


Many scholars have explored the effects of negative political advertising on voter turnout, some arguing that it suppresses turnout, others that it stimulates it. These two views represent the demobilization and stimulation hypotheses, respectively. A third school argues no meaningful relationship exists between the two variables. Despite extensive coverage in the literature, a newer contribution is needed to accurately assess the issue within a more modern context. I utilize data from the 2020 ANES Time Series Study to determine the extent to which exposure to negative political advertising affects voter turnout. I find the effect is slightly depressive, although minimal and less extreme than past contributions to the literature have suggested. These findings cast doubt on the strength of the relationship between negative political advertising and voter turnout.