Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Negative televised political advertising reached a new high during the 1992 presidential campaign. This study analyzed the ad genres, non-verbal contents, and video/audio production techniques used in the '92 negative presidential campaign spots. A two-staged research method was used, combining quantitative and qualitative approaches of analyses. Results indicate that the dominant genres of Clinton's and Bush's negative spots were multiple-genre ads and person-in-the-street ads, respectively. Both Clinton and Bush seldom showed themselves in their own negative ads. The targeted candidates were often featured with unfavorable facial expressions when they were shown. Various video production techniques such as camera movements, blurred images, dark background colors, slow motion, freeze frame, etc. were used to either paint a negative image of the targeted candidate and/or to create a threatening atmosphere for a negative spot. Both Clinton and Bush relied on unseen announcers to make the attacks. Clinton used the same announcer in all spots analyzed for this study while Bush used different announcers to read the narratives with threatening voices. Downbear music and various special sound effects were used to create a threatening atmosphere for both candidates' negative ads. Future research should investigate the effects of these subtle but nevertheless powerful techniques with more emphasis on the qualitative approach of analysis.


A Thesis Presented to the Department of Communication and the Faculty of the Graduate College University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree Master of Arts University of Nebraska at Omaha. Copyright Chia-Ying Jui June, 1996