Alberta election results can be predicted using campaign signs: political scientist

Campaign signs are popping up across Alberta, but do they have an impact on voters? Jillian Code reports.

The writ officially dropped Monday, and election signs are popping up everywhere, however, do they really make an impact on voters in an age of digital advertising?

Duane Bratt, a political scientist professor at Mount Royal University, says sign density can impact people’s perception.

“If you’re just going through and seeing wave after wave of blue or wave after wave of orange, that might convince you that that’s the party that’s gonna win,” he said.

In an age of digital marketing, and television, radio, and online attack ads, Bratt says the front-lawn signs actually might have more of an impact than they’ve ever had.

“There are more signs now than there used to be, and the reason for that is because we’re inundated with other ads,” he explained. “But these ads aren’t coming from parties, these are coming from individuals supporting a party. That’s much different.

“Putting an ad out on YouTube or television or radio tells you how much money a party has. When they convince someone to put a sign on their lawn, that’s a real person.”

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Bratt believes you can predict the outcome of a riding by looking at the number of campaign signs, but he says the big ones on public property are just advertising.

He says you have to look at the ones on private property, as these are put up by voters who are displaying their vote loud and clear.

“The more signs that you have on private property, the greater the likelihood is that you’re gonna win the election,” said Bratt.

The parties, so zealous to get signs out, may have left one on your doorstep without you requesting one. It might’ve been given in error, or the person who lived at that address during the last provincial election may have requested one and didn’t update their address information with the party.

The NDP says contact information is on every sign, while the UCP advises people to reach out to a campaign office to have someone pick up the sign.

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