Negative political ads up 750% over 2008

If you feel like basically every political ad you’ve seen this year has been negative, you’re not crazy. According to USA Today a new study from Wesleyan Media Project finds that 70% of ads so far this year have been attack ads. At this point during the 2008 election, just 9.1% of ads had been negative. That’s just over a 750% increase in negative ads.

It should come as no surprise that fundraising by PACs and SuperPACs has risen in parallel. The study finds that activity by those groups has risen by 1,100% since 2008—a pretty close analogue to the 750% increase in negative ads.

SuperPACs, which allow unlimited donations from anonymous donors, have only been legal since 2010, so this is the first election cycle in which we’re seeing how they’ll impact campaigns. Looks like we’ve got our answer. Now we know why Stephen Colbert has been so bent about them.

Why so many negative ads? Probably because they work. Take a look below. Would you want to vote for this guy after watching it?