The research on the topic is divided. Some studies indicate that candidates who attack other candidates run the risk of turning off their constituents. Others show that the electronic mudslinging diatribes are more likely to be paid attention to by potential votes and, thus, are worthwhile.
Judging by the sheer volume of venom currently clogging the airwaves, one would imagine that they are being suggested and pushed by political consultants because they are, indeed powerful influencers.
Just think of the news coverage (and blogs) that are generated around such ads which, in turn, cite specific examples and play said messages over and over again (not going to happen here), sometimes on a national scale.
Just as bad news turns heads and grabs front page headlines, “bad behavior” seems destined to continue to be the political path most chosen – with “taking the high road” a much distant second.