So much for the “politics of hope,” said The New York Sun in an editorial. A new study from the University of Wisconsin says that since the conventions, 77 percent of Barack Obama’s ads have been negative, compared with 56 percent of John McCain’s ads. Obama talks about “wanting to bring Americans together,” but he’s sure running a “nasty” and “polarizing general election campaign.”

The problem with that Obama-as-“rabid attack dog” narrative, said Leslie Savan in The Nation, is that the UW study counts an ad as negative if it simply mentions the candidate’s opponent. So it equates McCain’s “utterly false charges” with Obama’s “accurate” ads portraying McCain as out of touch and “surrounded by lobbyists.”

Well, “American voters don’t share the punditocracy’s quadrennial alarm that this is The Most Negative Campaign Season Ever,” said Katherine Mangu-Ward in Reason online. A new Rasmussen poll shows that 55 percent of voters think this race is about as negative as in other years, and 20 percent “actually think things seem more civilized than usual.”