Except for a few barbs here and there, the 2008 campaign has been as polite as a tea party, and that's not a good thing, reports Reuters. Though many assume negative campaigning turns off voters, it's the negative details that stick and actually spur voters to cast a ballot, researchers say. "Democracy itself requires negativity," says one professor. "We want the right to be critical of those in power."
The candidates' decorum is partially out of thrift; the unusually early start to next year's contest has them watching their spending on ads, a traditional venue for attacking fellow candidates and highlighting differing viewpoints. But testy exchanges—Clinton calling Obama a novice on international affairs, Giuliani attacking Clinton for questioning the judgment of Gen. Petraeus—are said to help draw voters in, not turn them away.