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Losing on all fronts: The effects of negative versus positive person-based campaigns on implicit and explicit evaluations of political candidates


Correspondence should be addressed to Dr Luciana Carraro, University of Padova, Via Venezia, 8 - 35131 Padova, Italy (e-mail:


The current research investigated the effects of negative as compared to positive person-based political campaigns on explicit and implicit evaluations of the involved candidates. Participants were presented with two political candidates and statements that one of them ostensibly said during the last political campaign. For half of the participants, the campaign included positive remarks about the source of the statement (positive campaign); for the remaining half, the campaign included negative remarks about the opponent (negative campaign). Afterwards, participants completed measures of explicit and implicit evaluations of both candidates. Results indicate that explicit evaluations of the source, but not the opponent, were less favourable after negative as compared to positive campaigns. In contrast, implicit evaluations were less favourable for both candidates after negative campaigns. The results are discussed in terms of associative and propositional processes, highlighting the importance of associative processes in political decision making.