In a surprising insight heading into a decisive moment for the 2012 presidential race, the content of the TV ads leading up to South Carolina’s Republican primary shows the majority (54%) have been “positive” in tone, according to an analysis released by WPP ad tracking firm Kantar Media.
And most of the negative messages came from two candidates: frontrunner Mitt Romney and also-ran Newt Gingrich. Nearly twice as many of Gingrich’s ad messages took a negative tone, or attacked his rivals, while slightly more than half of Romney’s did so.
Interestingly, the candidate with the greatest relative share of positive ad messages was the one that has been winning popular votes, but has largely been ignored by his party’s pundits and the media covering the race, Ron Paul (see table below).
All SC Markets
Source: Kantar Media’s Kantar Media’s CMAG analysis of ads aired in South Carolina markets Jan. 10 - 16.