IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Modeling Negative Campaigning


  • Skaperdas, Stergios
  • Grofman, Bernard


Negative campaigning is an important aspect of campaign competition but plays little or no role in existing models of campaigns. Within the context of plurality elections for a single office we model the incentives that affect the use of negative campaigning. Under simplifying but still quite general assumptions we show a number of results, including the following key conclusions: (1) for two-candidate competition the front-runner will engage in more positive and less negative campaigning than the opponent; (2) in a three-candidate contest with one candidate clearly trailing by a large margin and playing mainly a spoiler role, that candidate will only engage in positive campaigning; and (3) in any three-candidate contest, no candidate engages in negative campaigning against the weaker of his two opponents, so that to the extent there is negative campaigning, it will be directed against the front-runner or it will come from the front-runner. These results have direct empirical applications to multicandidate primaries and nonpartisan contests and can provide insight into recent general elections as well.

Suggested Citation

  • Skaperdas, Stergios & Grofman, Bernard, 1995. "Modeling Negative Campaigning," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 89(1), pages 49-61, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:01:p:49-61_09

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: link to article abstract page
    Download Restriction: no

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:01:p:49-61_09. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no bibliographic references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Keith Waters (email available below). General contact details of provider: .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.