In fact, in 2011 Vanderbilt University professor Cindy Kam co-authored a study to determine just that. Kam leads the Research on Individuals, Politics & Society Lab at the university. In the study yard signs for a fictitious county council candidate named “Ben Griffin” were placed in a high-traffic area near a school. A few days later a survey was mailed out by the school’s Parent Teacher Association that asked respondents to pick their choices for the seat among five real candidates, “Ben Griffin” and another fictional name.
The results? Nearly a quarter of respondents listed “Ben Griffin” in their top three choices! Not bad considering he had no other marketing and no social media presence (and never existed).
Another study in 2015 led by Columbia University poli-sci professor Donal Green found that political signs can account for “somewhere between 1 and 2 percentage points.” That could make all the difference in a close race.
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