Some of the findings of my research on negative campaigning are:
Incumbents go positive, but are attack magnets (ref)
Increasing ideological extremism and distance from the target drive negativity (ref)
Candidates attack upwards: they direct their attacks mainly against frontrunners (ref)
A logic of retaliation and reciprocity drives negativity: incentives seem to exist for candidates to go negative on rivals that attack them in return (ref)
Parties are more likely to go negative when they face unfavourable competitive standings and voting day is near (ref)
Negativity is risky: using excessive negativity can depress electoral results (ref)
Negative campaigning is more effective for voters scoring high on psychopathy (ref)
Being exposed to a higher volume of negative messages often depresses evaluations of the target, whereas being exposed to a higher volume of positive messages enhances evaluation of the sponsor (ref)
Campaigns of populist candidates are substantially more negative and contain much more character attacks than campaigns of non-populist candidates (ref)
Humor reduces the backlash effect of political attacks, but does not reduce their effectiveness (ref)
Verhulsdonk, I., Nai, A., & Karp, J. (2021). Are Political Attacks a Laughing Matter? Three Experiments on Political Humor and the Effectiveness of Negative Campaigning. Political Research Quarterly. doi: 10.1177/10659129211023590
Maier, J., & Nai, A. (2021). Mapping the drivers of negative campaigning. Insights from a candidate survey. International Political Science Review. doi: 10.1177/0192512121994512
Nai, A., & Maier, J. (2020). Dark necessities? Candidates’ aversive personality traits and negative campaigning in the 2018 American Midterms. Electoral Studies. doi: 10.1016/j.electstud.2020.102233
Nai, A., & Maier, J. (2020). Is negative campaigning a matter of taste? Political attacks, incivility, and the moderating role of individual differences. American Politics Research. doi: 10.1177/1532673X20965548
Nai, A., & Otto, L. (2020). When they go low, we gloat. How trait and state Schadenfreude moderate the perception and effect of negative political messages. Journal of Media Psychology. doi: 10.1027/1864-1105/a000283
Valli, C., & Nai, A. (2020). Attack politics from Albania to Zimbabwe. A large-scale comparative study on the drivers of negative campaigning. International Political Science Review. doi: 10.1177/0192512120946410
Seeberg, H. B., & Nai, A. (2020). Undermining a rival party’s issue competence through negative campaigning: Experimental evidence from the USA, Denmark, and Australia. Political Studies. doi: 10.1177/0032321720916162
Maier, J., & Nai, A. (2020). Roaring candidates in the spotlight. Campaign negativity, emotions, and media coverage in 107 national elections. The International Journal of Press/Politics. doi: 10.1177/1940161220919093
Gerstlé, J., & Nai, A. (2019). Negativity, emotionality and populist rhetoric in election campaigns worldwide, and their effects on media attention and electoral success. European Journal of Communication, 34(4) 410–444.
Nai, A., & Martinez i Coma, F. (2019). Losing in the polls, time pressure, and the decision to go negative in referendum campaigns. Politics & Governance, 7(2), 278–296.
Nai, A. and Sciarini, P. (2018). Why 'going negative'? Strategic and situational determinants of personal attacks in Swiss direct democratic votes. Journal of Political Marketing, 17(4), 382-417.
Nai, A., Martinez i Coma, F., and Maier, J. (2018). Donald Trump, populism, and the age of extremes: Comparing the personality traits and campaigning style of Trump and other leaders worldwide. Presidential Studies Quarterly, 49(3), 609–643.
Nai, A. (2018). Going negative, worldwide. Towards a general understanding of determinants and targets of negative campaigning. Government & Opposition. doi: 10.1017/gov.2018.32
Nai, A. (2018). Fear and loathing in populist campaigns? Comparing the communication style of populists and non-populists in elections worldwide. Journal of Political Marketing. doi: 10.1080/15377857.2018.1491439
Nai, A., and Seeberg, HB. (2018). A series of persuasive events. Sequencing effects of negative and positive messages on party evaluations and perceptions of negativity. Journal of Marketing Communications, 24(4): 412-432.
Nai, A., and Maier, J. (2018). Perceived personality and campaign style of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Personality and Individual Differences, 121: 80-83.
Nai, A. and Walter, A. S. (Eds.) (2015). New perspectives on negative campaigning: why attack politics matters, Colchester: ECPR Press.
Nai, A. (2013). What really matters is which camp goes dirty. Differential effects of negative campaigning on turnout during Swiss federal ballots. European Journal of Political Research, 52(1): 44-70.