Negative Narrative and Influence on Electoral Behaviour

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Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi state university, Faculty of social and political sciences
The election campaign is of crucial importance in the elections. Conducting the advertising campaign in the political campaign in support of and / or against a candidate is allowed by law. However, the promotion of the advertising campaign is almost unimaginable without any negativity. Its share in relation to the positive is increasing. A negative campaign typically aims at affecting the emotional level of the electorate and does not aim at supporting the electorate to find an intellectual and rational decision. The negative campaign is an instrument, which gives the possibility of creating a negative narrative against the opponent and increases the interest of the electorate almost two times. Some part of the negative campaign and advertising researchers through different approach is trying to establish the feedback between the negative campaign and the behaviour of the electorate, that is demonstrated in the results of the specific election. Nevertheless, it is difficult for them to find a direct correlation between the negative narrative and the results of the election. The practice of using negative technologies is not unfamiliar for Georgia as well. If we review the electoral history, every election is accompanied by the leitmotif of the negative narrative. Political subjects during every critical election address the discrediting campaign. The increase of the negative narrative has become noticeable since the 2008 presidential election. Phrases: “Zero tolerance to petty crimes ... no conditional sentence, all to the prison!!!” I need two men, two corpses!”, ”You scum...I’ll torture you to death!, etc. have become associated with the elections. The opposition was trying to mobilize the electorate by boosting negative charge. Over the time, in the course of the growing political mistakes of the ruling team, the occasions of using negative narrative by opponents were increasing. In the parliamentary elections of October 1, 2012, the prison scandal and the financial side of Bidzina Ivanishvili determined the fate of the elections. This means that, in the majority of cases, the shifting of the government happened not at the expense of the program priorities but rather due to a negative mobilization of the society. In 2012, in the following election, the Georgian Dream started using the previous narrative, and additionally the prison shots and secret recordings. The ruling party has been able to win every subsequent election on the background of this strategy. A different situation was created in the 2018 presidential election. Georgian Dream supported the independent candidate - Salome Zurabishvili, and therefore at the initial stage of the campaign an attack against the candidate of the United Opposition would be unprofitable. After the failure in the first round, it changed the strategy and again appealed to the negative aspects of the United National Movement's 9-year ruling, creating a danger of revenge and a returning of the violent regime, which managed to mobilize the electorate and win the second round. The United Opposition was also acting with a similar strategy, which was able to mobilize a significant part of the electorate divulging the vicious sides of the Georgian Dream’s policy. Therefore, it is evident that in critical situations, political subjects often use the negative narrative for their strategic purpose. Consequently, the aim of the report is, to present the goals of the negative narrative in the campaign and its influence on electoral behaviour on the basis of analysis of individual cases from the history of elections in Georgia.
Elections, negativity, campaign, electoral behaviour, არჩევნები, ნეგატივი, კამპანია, ელექტორალური ქცევა