The Republican race for the presidential nomination is becoming increasingly nasty as voters prepare to head to the polls in South Carolina on Saturday.
So far this month, more than 15,200 TV ads have been blasted at South Carolinians, with nearly two-thirds of them negative, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data provided by advertising monitoring firm Kantar Media/CMAG. The negative ad total includes spots that contrast multiple candidates and typically cast at least one in a disparaging light.
Since TV ads from GOP candidates, super PACs and political nonprofits first began airing in South Carolina, nearly half have been negative. That’s a marked change from previous contests. In both Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to host votes for a presidential nominee, only about one-third of all TV ads were attack ads.
So far this month, Cruz and his supporters have aired more than 5,400 TV ads — an average of about one every four minutes. Many of these have gone after his rival Republican White House hopefuls Donald Trump, a real estate mogul who currently leads in the polls, and Marco Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida.