BOSTON (CBS) — Have you noticed fewer campaign signs in front lawns this election cycle?
It’s not just your imagination–political strategists say signs are going out of style as campaigns look for more targeted, direct, and high-tech ways of getting your vote.
Democratic strategist Mary Ann Marsh told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones that signs and bumper stickers are simply not worth the cost–and they just aren’t that effective.
“It’s always nice to see a sign on a lawn, no question about it,” said Marsh. “But the people who go buy it aren’t necessarily persuaded by that, because most of them are strangers.”
But she says more and more people are getting their political information online these days–and strategists know which sites potential voters visit, when, and how long they stay there, allowing campaigns to target the voters they know they can reach.
“If you know you can get someone online, even more than on radio or more than on TV, it’s better to put that money right now online so you can capture the voters you want and need to persuade, than putting a lawn sign out there that might not do that,” she said. “Every campaign budget is shifting those resources to online because they can quantify exactly who they’re reaching, contact those people afterward, and then try to persuade them and get them to support their candidate.”
Terry MacCormack, Communications Director for the Massachusetts Republican Party, agrees.
“I think in this age of data-driven campaigns, campaigns are looking at the ways that they can target voters most effectively, and they see that the most effective tactics often wind up being things like door-to-door canvasing, direct mail, digital advertising increasingly,” he said.
He says the drive toward data is pushing lawn signs out of the picture.
“I think you see that when campaigns have that data to figure out the best way to go after voters, that they’re going to maybe reallocate resources from things like lawn signs, which represent maybe an earlier era of campaigning,” MacCormack said.
Only the Trump campaign says it is taking orders for lots of lawn signs.
Rep. Geoff Diehl, co-chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in Massachusetts, said they are getting lots of requests for signs, and are filling them as fast as they can.
Some, he said, are taking matters into their own hands–like a man who he said spend $8,000 to have a 13′ x 30′ Trump sign built in his yard.
“I know some people that are hanging Trump signs from trees so they don’t get vandalized,” said Diehl.
In Haverhill, a man faces fines for having too many Donald Trump signs in his yard. In September, residents rallied at the man’s home to show their support for him.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports