Negative campaigning is the process of discrediting your opponent rather than focusing on your own attributes. It has been on the rise in American poltics for a while and is closely linked to the process of political polarisation. Negative campaigning has long been associated with disillusionment and political apathy and the continued rise of negative campaigning could have disasterous consequences for America’s already low turnouts.
The further US political parties pull apart the more credit their candidates get for insulting the opposition. This piece in the Washington Post looks at the balance between negative and positive stories in the 2012 campaign and the consequences of the plethora of negative messages and attack ads.