In the 2011 ranked choice election for mayor of Portland, 41% of respondents from a survey of early voters conducted by FairVote felt there was less negative campaigning than usual.
In 2014, a study by professors at the University of Iowa and Western Washington University found that only 5% of voters in 7 cities using ranked choice voting thought that candidates criticized each other “a great deal” compared with 25% of voters in cities not using ranked choice voting. The survey also found that cities using ranked choice ballots reported less negative campaigns than in cities that did not use ranked choice ballots. In cities using ranked choice voting, 42% of voters found the campaign season to be less negative, compared to 28% of voters in cities without ranked choice ballots. Clear majorities of voters in all 7 cities with experience casting ranked choice ballots support this reform.
This is important in fostering positive attitudes among the public towards the democratic process. Furthermore, as candidates seek second and third choices, they must reach out beyond their traditional base and engage with a greater number of voters, naturally bringing more people into the democratic process.