Friday, August 17, 2007

Lawn Signs Do Not Win Elections - Not Even in St. Petersburg

I do not know how many times I have said that to clients. Enough times and enough variations on the theme that I have lost track.

This train of thought was triggered while reading a post on Local Politics Is All about the campaigns going on right now for the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th City Council Districts. The 3rd and 7th are open and in the 1st, Herb Poulson was appointed to finish the term of now State Representative Rick Kriseman and is now running to hold that seat in his own right.

The post describes some of the expenditures made by some of the candidates.

Republican Ed Montanari spent $3,100 on signs. Bill Dudley spent $2,600 on signs (and $500 on t-shirts, which is a whole other post/rant).

How can I put this... oh yes: YARD SIGNS DO NOT WIN ELECTIONS.

A minimum of 75% of campaign monies should be spent on direct voter contact. What do we mean by direct voter contact? Primarily, we mean paid media - radio, direct mail, and television. Newspaper ads would also be considered in that category, though I, personally, am not convinced of their efficacy compared to more targeted forms (by targeted, I mean that it is aimed as much as possible to just your voters; for example, a mail piece that hits only likely voters or a cable buy for viewers in just those zip codes contained in the district). Paid phones and canvassers could also be included in this.

The only major expense outside of this that I approve of is a quality voter file - preferably a web based one from a professional voter file vendor and not something created by a close friend on Microsoft Access.

The remaining 75% goes to items like office space and staff (on larger campaigns) and things like palm cards (the literature given out at the door when the candidate and his or her volunteers canvass potential voters; also known as walk literature) and yard signs.

One of the biggest mistakes rookie candidates make is spending too much on things like yard signs and too little on things that win elections. I estimate $800 as being more than sufficient to buy enough two color yard signs with wire stakes (wooden stakes are just too much trouble - wire stakes are so much easier to deal with) for a city council race in St. Petersburg.

In District 3, the most competitive seat, Cathy Harrelson is well behind in the money race, but if she has been husbanding her resources for expenditures that focus on direct voter contact, she may actually wind up more or less equal with her opponents because they will have frittered thousands of dollars away on too many overpriced yard signs.


At 8/17/2007 09:22:00 PM, Blogger Miss Trashahassee said...

Yep. I know.

Here's what I don't like.

When I'm watchin' a movie on Oprah's channel, and it's a real tear-jerker, I hate it when a politician comes a'ringin' my doorbell.

See, I cry real bad at Lifetime Television for Women and Oprah's channel. That's just me.

I think the Kleenex Corporation has stock in both channels. That oughta be illegal. But I digress.

I don't want nobody messin' with me when I'm watchin' that stuff. That's because I'm tender. And sensitive. And so are them shows on them channels.

I tell you what. If my Ol' Man laughs at me when I cry at one of them made-for-TV movies, I jack-slap him into the next century. We all know how far away that is, bein' as how we just got into a brand-new century.

Now, I usually don't feel so bad for Cheryl Ladd, bein' how she's all botoxed up and has difficulty showing any emotion. But, dang it, when Ms. Ex-Angel steals her best friend's husband -- even though her BFF was in the process of divorcin' TV-movie-actor William Moses, who stars in every TV movie there is and ever was, the scumbag, and didn't want him no more -- there's gonna be some weepin' and wailin' and gnashin' of teeth on my part.

If I have my teeth in, that is.

Maybe you oughta advise politicians that if there's a minivan parked in the driveway and nobody answers the door after he/she rings the doorbell a couple of times, he/she should just scoot his/her bootie on down the road to the next trailer house.

Us Lifetime/Oprah Channel fans get real irate when we get interrupted from our shows. Them shows is based on true-life events, you know.

I'm just sayin'.

Your new BFF,
Miss Trashahassee

At 8/20/2007 02:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To make it worse, many of the signs aren't even in the District.


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