Are political yard signs helping candidates gain more votes?

HARRISBURG, Pa, (WHTM) – A Vanderbilt University study shows that candidate yard signs can be influential in political races, especially to voters who may not have a strong party affiliation or may not be plugged in to the issues.

Ashley Cowger says the signs will not influence her decision, but she can see how others could be influenced.

“Maybe they have seen a name over and over,” Cowger said. “When they look at the ballot, they recognize the name, and they may not know what they stand for, but they may vote that way.”

The study placed signs of a fictitious candidate for a Tennessee borough council seat in several high volume areas. Three days later, researchers sent out surveys and that candidate placed in the top three out of five candidates, as their likely choice.

Jim Lee of Susquehanna Polling & Research says their polling suggests that fewer people are influenced by yard signs.

“Statistically, very few voters that we talk to say they learn about the candidates or even their name from yard signs,” Lee said.

Lee says the signs are visible, but are also very expensive. He says less people are watching political ads on television because technology allows them to watch their favorite programming and bypass commercials and political spots.

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