As I’m driving I can’t help but notice the political yard signs lining the streets. As I drive into a different county I notice that the names change, but the signs continue to scatter the yards of supporters. I can’t help but wonder do these signs really work?
While these signs show the public who supports which candidate, they are not an effective way to persuade voters. Most people who put signs in their front yard are already strong supporters of a candidate or political party. The signs usually don’t persuade voters who are on the fence about who they should vote for.
These yards sign usually cost about $6 per sign, and sometimes less if ordered in bulk. The fact is that there are more effective ways to persuade and convince voters that a candidate is right for the job.
Effective Ways to Persuade Voters
Knock on doors-Talking with people face-to-face is a more effective way to persuade voters than yard signs.
Register voters – Registering voters will increase the possible number of people who could vote for your candidate.
Send direct mail pieces – Direct mail pieces will get constitutes thinking about important issues. This could increase the number of people who vote for your candidate.
Donate money - Collecting money from donors will help the campaign to grow.
Another problem that campaigns face is the amount of time and effort that is needed to distribute signs and deal with unsatisfied voters. Wasting time and effort talking with voters who are unhappy because of something that has happened with their sign can cost the campaign valuable volunteer time.
Lack of signs – Signs can be relatively expensive. Some small campaigns can’t afford to produce as many signs as needed. This can cause unhappy voter.
Defaced signs – Signs that are damaged by the weather or vandalism can cause the campaign extra money to replace.
Stolen signs – signs that are stolen can create negative voter attitudes. This can also cost the campaign extra money to replace.
Yard signs, much like t-shirts and pins, are an effective way to show personal values, but have little impact on influencing others.
While these signs stay posted for a few months they quickly lose their importance after the Nov. election. So what are people doing with their signs after the elections?
Some campaigns are responsible for recollecting the signs after the election. If your sign isn’t collected by the campaign that sold it to you, a good solution is recycling. Some communities start programs to collect the signs while others urge residents to recycle the used signs own their own.
Although political yard signs aren’t the best way to contribute to a campaign, they are a great way to show your neighbors who you support. If you don’t have the extra time or money to put into a campaign, yard signs are the way to go.