But it has to be done fairly. No low blows, no personal assaults, no lies. And don't use stupid images that have nothing to do with your race, your candidate, the issues or the opponent.
If you're running against an incumbent, negative messages are almost di rigeur. You are seeking a job currently held by someone else. That is you have to tell employer (the voters) why they should fire the incumbent and hire you. If people don't think he/she is doing a bad job, or just doing an adequate job or overlooking something important, they will look at you more seriously as a contender.
If there is actual corruption, malfeasance or hypocrisy, even better, for the negative campaign! But don't go all righteous and pompous. Use humor. Best way to get the message across, as you pump up your own clinet's positives.
I personally think women are much better at the light tough - the right touch - in the negative campaign. Men can get all heavy handed and blown up with their own swagger and overdue the nasties, while not building up their candidate enough in the public eyes.
To sum up:
- Negative campaigning works when it is the right time, the right, light, touch, truthful, well-documented and not over the top
- Always use separate mail/media to build up your own candidates preferably by showing him/her interacting with locals, caring about local issues, being in touch
- More paper in the mail does not necessarily equate to more votes. Smart campaigning and balance is much more likely to carry the day.