One of the first things I learned when I started out working on political campaigns is that “Signs don’t vote.”
This is true, however I’m not convinced it is completely true.
Having signs “everywhere” does not win elections.
Having signs in the right locations, well that’s a bit of a different story.
(The photo above shows signs being “everywhere” but doing nothing to help any of those candidates actually win their election.)
At the most basic level, this is absolutely correct and you should always keep that in mind, especially when someone tell you they see your opponents signs “everywhere.”
Before we get too far along here, I need to tell you something as a political consultant:
Campaign signs are a real pain in the neck.
Candidates and their supporters become obsessed with signs.
They need signs. They need more signs. They want signs on every street corner.
All of their time becomes tied into putting signs up anywhere and “everywhere” a voter might drive past at some point in time.
But at the end of the day, all of the energy expended here does not help win an election.
Yes, signs have a role in your campaign.
They are great for name identification and to raise awareness that an election is nearing, but they won’t win the race for you.
Putting a ton of your signs up on fences on main streets or planting them all over open spaces is simply a waste of time and money.
Yes, you can put a few of your signs up in those places, but the majority of your signs (90% or more) belong in voters yards.
Signs in peoples front yards are the hardest ones to place, but they are the most important ones you can put out.
They are hard to put in a person’s yard because you must convince them to allow you to put it there.
And to convince them of that, you need to convince them to vote for you.
Which is what your one job is as a candidate.
You’re out their campaigning so that voters who have no idea who you are get to know you, know where you stand on the issues important to them, and agree to vote for you on Election Day.
Now, I have to break a hard truth to you.
Not every voter who says they will vote for you will vote for you.
They are just being kind and don’t want to talk to you any more.
But when a voter says you have their support AND they agree to display a sign in their front yard, they’ve made a secondary commitment to you.
A voter with your sign in their yard is going to vote for you 99 out of 100 times (yes there are weird exceptions, this is politics after all).
Additionally, every house that has your sign in their yard isn’t just one vote for you. It’s likely 2, maybe as many as 10.
Most people don’t live alone and the person who agrees to put a sign up probably won’t do so without consent of their spouse, partner, roommate, etc.
On top of that the neighbors will ask them why they put your sign up.
And when they explain why they’re voting for you, you’ll probably pick up more votes from the voters living in surrounding houses.
Why is this?
First, we tend to trust the opinions of our friends and neighbors more than we will some “politician” who happened to come by looking for a vote.
Secondly, more people are living in clusters of like minded people now – especially when it comes to politics.
Where one vote goes, many others are likely to go.
So if you’ve been wasting your time plastering highly traveled roads with your signs, stop doing it.
Put your emphasis on connecting with voters, communicating your vision, and getting your signs placed in their front yards.
That’s the best use of not only your time, but of those campaign signs you spent all that money to buy.
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