Yard Signs Don’t Win Elections

Yard signsToday’s thoughts come from the campaign trail so let’s get right to the point…Yard Signs Don’t Win Elections. I have spent numerous hours putting together signs and then canvassing streets till all hours of the night. The burning question that comes to mind is; did my 30,000 yard signs change the democratic wave that hit the voting booths?

Staffers around the Country on both sides of the aisle deal with a high demand of yard signs from volunteers and supporters alike. To be honest there is no harm in wanting to show your support for your candidate or to let your neighbors know where you stand. The true danger lies when campaigns and volunteers get side tracked with sign wars and I too am guilty. I cringe when I think how many hours I spent sending volunteers out to cover streets, or the energy wasted in trying to find the person who stole my signs because there is one simple truth here, yard signs don’t win elections especially in the big races (like Presidential or Gubernatorial)

Now many will disagree that on smaller race, say a local city race, these signs might have a larger impact in name identity and letting my neighbors know who my candidate is. However volunteers aren’t engaging in canvassing an entire County or State for little races, probably because of the cost factor. So why do large campaigns continue to waste their money on yard signs instead of on earned or paid media, grassroots events, robo-calls, commercials or direct mail pieces? If you have the money to waste then buy as many as you desire. On the other hand if you are running a campaign on a budget then invest your money elsewhere.

Let me end with a real life story…

Terry McAuliffe was the Co-Chairman for President Clinton’s re-election campaign and Hillary’s 2008 campaign. He also led the Democratic Party as the DNC Chairman from 2001-2005, so it is safe to say that Terry knows a little something about campaigning. In 2009 he decided to run for Governor of Virginia and his strategy was to spend every penny on yard signs. In the end the former leader of the Democratic Party couldn’t successfully get past his Primary to even be a contender for the gubernatorial seat but people surely knew his name. Click here to watch a short YouTube video to see just how many signs Terry purchased!

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