The only thing Boltas likes less are appeals for money, donations perhaps aimed at producing more negative ads. "That turns me off a bit," he says. "I don't send money."
Retiree Arnold Barclay of Danvers defies conventional wisdom that negative messages work. He says downbeat ads "go in my one ear and out the other" because they are an effort by political professionals to gin up controversy and get media attention.
"Politics is a dirty business," said Barclay. "Always will be, and always has been -- going back to George Washington."
Alan Burke is a reporter for the Salem, Mass., News. Contact him at email@example.com.