Pattye Benson

Community Matters

Do Political Campaign Signs influence your vote? How About in the Drucker vs Kampf election?

Do political campaign signs make a difference in in election results? Do they influence individual voter decisions? Do how many signs a candidate has, or conversely a perceived lack of signs by individual candidates have any effect on voters?

In driving around the township yesterday, there certainly is a plethora of political signage. At least now, the leftover campaign signs of former Republican Lieutenant Governor Candidate Daryl Metcalfe are no longer alone. Metcalfe came in a distant third in the May primary but his red and white signs remain ever-present in our community 5 months later! Which begs the question, which is responsible for removal of the signs post-election . . . the candidate, the political party, volunteers?

Political signs display grassroots support. When voters display your political campaign signs in their yards, it shows neighbors that they believe in you enough to temporarily alter the landscape of their property. Recognizing the power of that association, does that influence other voters?

Among the traditional campaign signs, I noted a new political sign, ‘Republican for Paul Drucker’. As a Democrat and incumbent State House Representative Candidate, Paul is looking to gather support from the registered voters of the opposing party. Do we expect that the Warren Kampf campaign will likewise use signage touting registered democrat voter support? With the growing ‘Independent’ party affiliation among voters, is there signage claiming ‘Independent for Drucker’ or ‘Independent for Kampf’ on the horizon from either candidate?

Voter turnout was very low in the primary and historically Tredyffrin Township has not fared much differently in the general election (especially non-presidential election years). However, with the Governor’s race at stake this year, can we hope for a better than average turnout. Low voter turnouts make is easier for single-issue candidates and candidates with narrow but deep support make a good showing. If you are one of those folks, than you probably don’t want to tell the public when the election is. However, if you are a serious candidate with broad appeal than why not tell the public when to vote.

To inform the voters, and build interest in the fact that there’s an election date coming, why not some signs stating Election Day November 2 or at least on Tuesday, November 2, signs that say “Today’s the day”.

As a registered voter hoping for greater voter turnout, Election Day signage is something that I could support! I’d like to make a suggestion that the township as a public service could set-up those temporary sign boards to notify the public of the upcoming election.

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  1. If, after the hundreds of millions of dollars that are spent to create and distribute all the political mailers, billboards, radio ads, television commercials, news stories, live phone calls and robo calls….someone does not know when election day is… then obviously they don’t have a clue and should not vote.
    Those who abstain from voting on purpose, perhaps due their realization that the primary benefactors of all the annoying political hoopla is the ever growing media complex, probably would not have their mind changed either by the addition of taxpayer funded signs/billboards.

    1. kind of like the millions of dollars spent by our government to put up signs telling us our stimulus money(yes our money) is hard at work.


  2. I’m a dedicated voter. I care deeply about the issues and think long and hard before casting my vote for the individual I believe will do the best work for us. But signs of any kind, anywhere, annoy me. I hate clutter! I can’t imagine a sign influencing my political decisions. My gut says anyone that easily swayed shouldn’t be voting! Add to that the auditory clutter of negative TV ads (and I watch a grand total of 15 minutes per day of TV, news only!) and the negative mail stuffers. Every election cycle I can’t WAIT for it to all be over, and hope everyone removes all those junky signs afterward.

  3. Pattye,

    I’ve noted there are many more signs this cycle. They’re littering the roadsides, one right after the other & many grouped together for the same candidate. It’s like can you top this? What a waste of money!

    They certainly do not inlfuence my vote.

  4. The first time I ran for school board, I don’t believe any of the candidates had signs. The final time I ran, there were two incumbents running and one challenger. The other incumbent did not have signs to speak of (cannot remember if he got some at the last moment)…but he lost to the challenger. Now, the challenger was a good candidate, but some feedback I heard after the election was that without seeing his signs around, people didn’t think he was a serious candidate….maybe was on the ballot but not campaigning….
    If nothing else, people have name recognition. Hopefully those punching the cards also have some candidate knowledge.

  5. This makes me wonder whether it could ever be possible to reform the election process so that candidates receive a set, limited amount of government funding for whatever communication of their message they consider most effective. If signs work, then allocate a percentage of your resources to them.

    This funding also supports independently monitored forums/debates (League of Women Voters, etc.). Candidates need to establish some kind of critical mass to receive funding. Third parties can advocate for candidates as they see fit, but have to disclose who they are (unions, corporations, associations, etc.). No “anonymous” advocacy organizations (Move On,. American Family, etc.). Also, independent commissions establish voting districts, no gerrymandering.

    Politicians thus freed up to represent constituents rather then raise funds.

    Perhaps the politicos on the blog could lay out some of the issues here?

  6. I think the feds call it Campaign Finance Reform….and imo, people will always find a way around rules….it’s why most of the people running are either very wealthy (can use their own money) or are lawyers (and know the rules well enough to figure them out)

    I got an ugly mailer this weekend that specifically says it was not approved by the candidate or his party….though it looked strangely like one I had gotten from the candidate and his party earlier.

    This, to me, is not about the candidates. THIS is about the voters….and how easily they are (mis)led or convinced to vote one way or the other. Opposition research bears as much (or more?) fruit than telling your own story.

  7. I don’t think it makes a difference how many signs there are. Personally I don’t need signs to make my decision. Additionally, nothing aggravates me more then the people who stand outside the poling places and try to ‘introduce’ the candidate to me on my way in. If I don’t know who’s running when I am walking in to vote, then at this silly!!

  8. I think the common wisdom is that signs don’t necessarily help your campaign, but a lack of signs will be noticed if your opponent is busy put his or her signs up. Thus, the goal these signs is essentially to drown each other’s message out (sort a visual white noise).

    Certainly your photo of all the signs proves that point. Look at the photo and you just see a bunch of signs, but really don’t focus on any particular one.

  9. yesterday I received in the mail something from a PAC, not Drucker but on his behalf about how bad Kampf is. When I called info to get their telephone number, the operator couldn’t locate the PAC….Unfortunately my spouse ripped it up and threw it out so I can’t further investigate. I will just simply say it cast a very poor light on the Democrats and the PAC. And what it said was not true. When in a hole and trying to get out, as the saying goes, stop digging. It would have been more honest if it just came from Drucker. Well now I have to contribute to Sean Belot running against that bastion of wisdom and virtue, Barney Frank.

  10. What ever happened to going green? These signs are nothing more than seasonal litter.

    I have no problem with people placing signs on their own property, however, it infuriates me when signs are placed on public grounds or private ground illegally. Again, I say fine these guys for littering for every sign that isn’t voluntarily displayed on private property.

  11. Speaking of PACs, many of the disclosures on tv ads are almost unable to be read (they’re scrunched at the end with a lot of other ‘garbage’), so you never really know which group is or is not supporting a candidate. Very frustrating to say the least.

    On written/mail ads at least the PAC is noted, as it must be, but 9 times out of 10 you’re not able to find out anything about that particular PAC unless you do some serious searching on the web.

    The Supreme Court decision really put a dent in the Campaign Finance Reform bill. It’s opened it up to any group who has the money to support a candidate & send out negative ads by the dozens.

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