Various political scientists have conducted research, studies and practical experiments to understand the impact of signage on voter turnout. There are different viewpoints; some feel that political banners do not influence the voter’s mind. People already know the candidate and in most cases make up their minds long before the run begins. Others feel that political signage is not to be taken lightly.
Fundraisers, political rallies, late night talk shows, and social media campaigns have had an increasingly positive effect on voter turnout during the last presidential elections in the United States. The role of political signage is not to be ignored. Contrary to common belief that only political values are important, these signs, when displayed at events, fundraisers and rallies attract considerable attention.
Traditional grassroots campaigning has always been very effective in the States. Modern technology has made it easier for campaigners to reach out to a wider audience sitting at a computer, tablet or smartphone. Financially, it is better as well. Spending money on unnecessary travel to different states, counties or cities can be more focused and the candidate is able to better control wear money is spent. The funds can easily be utilized elsewhere. Campaign managers are working hard to keep up with the exploding revolution in technology. The idea is to connect personally with millions through social media, Snapchat, Vine etc.
Campaigns are being designed to focus in on voters through digital media. Political banners strung at public places, such as schools, at intersections and on vacant properties attract more attention. They serve as colourful constant reminders. They are a part of the loud political campaign that takes place over months. In most cases they only advertise the name of the candidate and the office sought after. But they help to attract those with little or zero interest in politics.
Signage hardly impacts the mind of the voter during the local electoral process. In most cases the people know more about the contesting candidates than any signage can display. The only positive effect that comes to mind is that they serve as reminders to people so they can take time off from their busy schedules and get out and vote!
They are more effective during larger elections. The Presidential election campaign can never be effective without political banners and yard signs. People grab every bit of information that can help them know the candidate better. In large populated areas, most people are politically inclined and follow candidates’ take on legal, economic and political agenda. But in local communities, signage helps to grab a voter’s attention. Signage helps in something that we call as the ‘exposure effect’; A situation where constant visual reminders tend to make a voter more familiar with a candidate. And it is human tendency to have a soft corner for something or someone we are familiar with. This tends to have a cascading effect. People influenced by signage and political news form views which in turn influence more minds around them.