Studies show political yard signs could tip a tight race in a candidate’s favor

Published: Oct. 23, 2020 at 4:53 AM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - According to a Loras College Politics professor, years ago experts thought political yard signs were more expressive rather than persuasive.

“Kind of like when you put the flag of your favorite sports team out on game day,” professor David Cochran explained. “You’re expressing your loyalty and support, but you’re not really trying to convert people.”

However, Cochran said recent studies show candidates with many signs could have between a one and two point bump, but he said those tend to be in races where there is not a lot of name recognition.

“So maybe not the presidential race, but a state or local race where you have candidates who are not as well known, it starts to put the name in people’s heads,” he mentioned.

Professor Cochran said the science behind it is that people see their neighbors, who they trust and identify with having those signs, so it could influence their decision on who to vote for.

Cochran added, though, political yard signs do not necessarily indicate who might end up winning the election.

“As far as predicting the outcome that is really hard because they’re not evenly distributed,” he explained. “You would have to drive to every single street and area and count the signs, but even then most voters do not have the signs, so you do not know how the non-sign voters are going to vote.”

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