Political races are something that seems to be going on all the time. If there is not a presidential campaign going on, there are still governors, senate and house representatives, and even city level elections going on. One of the most common sites to see during these times is yard signs, vinyl banners and lots of mailers with information about the candidates and what they believe. There are more reasons for political signage than just people running for certain offices; there are also issues and amendments that are always coming up on the ballots. There are so many signs for so many reasons. So what is the background behind all of these signs and messages?
There are many people who must wonder how effective the signs and banners are that are placed through the cities. A professor of political science at Fordham University named Costas Panagopoulos ran for the Massachusetts state legislature. Through this process he learned just how big of a strategy it is with politicians, but also wondered if that time and resources could not be used elsewhere more effectively. He decided to try out an experiment to see if there was any effect at all.
The experiment consisted of randomly assigning different voting locations in Manhattan to have volunteers with signs, standing outside and reminding people to vote. The message on the sign was nothing more than a reminder to vote for measurement purposes. After the election was complete, they analyzed the data and found that the voting precincts that had people standing on street corners had higher turn outs at the polls, than those that did not have the signs.
The results of the study could not measure how a sign has the ability to sway a person’s opinion on an issue or candidate, but they did show that people take notice of the signs and banners and read them. However, the psychology behind these signs is that when people see a candidate’s name, it becomes familiar to the voter. People are more likely to vote for someone who they have at least heard of rather than someone they have heard nothing about at all. Another thing that is taken into consideration is that people may be swayed by the number of signs and even by who is posting the signs in their yards or if their home team is sporting a big banner with a certain opinion.
No one thinks that these signs are free, but how much money goes into them? In the last Presidential election between Obama and Romney, there was a grand total of more than $2 billion spent by both sides. Those are nationwide campaigns so they are obviously going to cost more money. For more local offices, the costs can be much less. The costs of signs and banners can vary with regards to what the campaign wants to do with them. They can start out at around a dollar for leaflets and then head up from there. Banners can usually start around $100. These numbers are typical though for the signs being printed, but there are different ways they can end up on lawns and attached to fences. Supporters may donate to a campaign and get a sign in return, or they will be asked to display one because of the placement they can offer.
How to Incorporate this Knowledge
Regardless of how much money you spend towards a political campaign, placement can usually be the key to most “notices.” There are also certain color guidelines you will want to use, including your font size and whether or not any graphics will be used. A conservative look, but one that still grabs the voter’s attention, will more than likely be the perfect choice for you to go with.