I Saw The Sign: Campaign Sign Effectiveness


Every election season, campaign signs pop up in the front lawns of cities all over the country. It is a form of advertising that has existed for years. But in the age of modern technology and rampant social media trends and participation, are these signs anywhere near as effective as they used to be? 

A study about the effect of lawn signs on vote outcomes led by a Columbia University professor in 2016 found that lawn signs raise vote shares by slightly more than 1 percentage point on average. 

The study also found that these signs match other low-tech campaign tactics that tend to have a small influence. 

But Tom Sakievich’s campaign manager, Lisa Shepherd, said yard signs can be effective: “I think that yard signs are effective because they tie a position with a voter and with someone that you know.”

Congressman-hopeful, Darren Parry, agreed with their potential for influence — especially for the price. 

“I do think they’re effective, I just think they’re another part of the equation. I think they’re effective in that way when you don’t have a lot of money to spend. It’s wonderful to drive around town and see the support.”

Because of their low costs and their visibility, you probably won’t be seeing these election signs going away anytime soon — even if they don’t draw as much attention as a post on social media.

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