A political scientist at Iowa State University says the negative campaign ads which Iowans are inundated with these days may not be as effective this year. Dianne Bystrom, director of I.S.U’s Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, believes it’s because the economy has become the dominant campaign issue.

"I think we are a nation that tends to favor the economy a lot of times over international issues even in years where we’re at a war because it’s a more personal issue to Americans, it’s something that hits every American," Bystrom says.

Bystrom doubts the questions John McCain is raising about Barack Obama’s ties to a 1960s-era radical named William Ayers are gaining him much ground with most voters.

"Who wants to hear about Bill Ayers and people like that when the economy is in the tank and they’re worried about their money?" Bystrom asked. "They’re not really focused on that right now so I think even though there is negative campaigning out there right now, I don’t think that people are really paying as much attention to it."

Economic issues are always more important to women voters, according to Bystrom, and women account for a majority of the votes cast in elections. "Women earn less money than men. They’re more on the borders of our economy. They get hurt more when there’s something like this happening," Bystrom says. "…The economy and a downturned economy really impacts women voters…Nine million more women voted in 2004 than men and so (women) can have a really big impact on the election."

Bystrom made her comments during an appearance on Iowa Public Television.