Professor’s Research Finds Lawn Signs Have Little Effect on Winning Elections

Brandon Lenoir

HIGH POINT, N.C., Jan. 11, 2016 – Lawn signs are a well-known and widely used tactic during political races, but do they have a major effect on a campaign? High Point University professor Dr. Brandon Lenoir co-authored a recent study that shows political lawn signs have little effect on votes in a political race and no effect on turnout.

Working in collaboration with a congressional candidate, a mayoral candidate, a gubernatorial candidate, and two candidates for county commissioner, ranging from locations of New York, Virginia and Pennsylvania, Lenoir and his co-authors tested the effects of lawn signs by planting them in randomly selected voting precincts.

“Millions of dollars are spent each election cycle on political lawn signs,” said Lenoir, professor of political science and political communication. “We wanted to see if the signs are worth the paper they are printed on. Turns out, the conventional belief that lawn signs win elections isn’t supported.”

Electoral results pooled over all four studies that took place over two and a half years suggest that signs had little effect on the results unless the race was very close.

“If more than a couple percentage points separate the two candidates, lawn signs will have no effect on the outcome of the election. Bottom line, campaign dollars are better spent elsewhere,” said Lenoir.

Lenoir is also developing a political communication master’s degree program at HPU that will launch in fall 2016. The program will allow students to pursue a career in virtually any part of the political spectrum. They will learn how to develop the strategy for a lobbying campaign or advocacy, how to build the strategy for a political campaign, and how to be crisis managers, just to name a few.

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