Candidates love yard signs. There’s something about seeing their name plastered over every square inch of town that energizes them (or just strokes their egos). But should yard signs be an integral part of a campaign?
I’ve always been of the philosophy that yard signs play an important role, and that role varies depending on the size and type of campaign.
Here’s a good article on this topic from Campaigns & Elections Magazine:
The Psychology of Yard Signs
by David Rosen as published in Campaigns & Elections Magazine
Yard signs are the bane of most consultants and campaign staffers, but they don’t have to be if you approach them with the right attitude.
If you’re asking whether or not they win votes and benefit the overall campaign, you’re likely to see yard signs as a frustrating distraction and a waste of precious resources. After all, the scientific research into yard signs has yielded mixed results. In fact, we don’t really know whether they make a difference in overall campaign performance.
Whenever answers are elusive, it’s often because we’re asking the wrong questions. So instead of debating the macro effects of yard signs on the overall campaign, it’s far more constructive to focus on their micro effects: How yard signs can be leveraged effectively to change the behavior of individual voters and win new supporters.
So how might we use social and situational influence techniques to you keep your yard signs working?
People look to others for cues about how to behave, including how to vote. Yard signs are a good way to demonstrate support. But it’s not about blanketing the neighborhood with signs or about having the most on the block. All it takes is one sign and one exposure to demonstrate that a campaign has some support. This effect is likely to be strongest in places where the candidate’s name recognition is lowest and where signage can simultaneously boost general awareness.
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