October 4th, 2006

What’s in a Name?


As the 2006 elections approach, our commutes and leisurely walks are tainted with the clutter of campaign signs.

As a Texas political organization puts it:

Simple name recognition is critical and may be decisive in local or “down-ballot” races. People are unlikely to vote for a candidate whose name they don’t know.

Consequently, just getting people to recognize your name is the first and main challenge of many down-ballot candidates.

And so, we are inundated with signs everywhere we go. This website offers a list of all the 2006 political candidates running for election in Utah. The total: 400 people. Granted, some may be in various parts of the state, but with that many people running for office the widespread promulgation of signs is inevitable.

This MSNBC article from Seattle puts it quite poignantly:

While many traditional forms of advertising can be tossed in the trash or ignored, a constant inundation of one simple thing — a candidate’s name — can be an effective way of reaching less-informed voters.

That’s what it all boils down to, folks. In our day of soccer moms, 60 hour work weeks, and busy bees galore, nobody has time to research the candidates. Nobody cares to investigate their voting history and see what they’re all about.

And so, the “less-informed voters” are bombarded with the “constant inundation of one simple thing”: the candidate’s name. Oh, and maybe a catchy phrase tacked on the sign as well, such as “Justice First”, or “Protecting Our Families”, or “Fiscally Responsible”. Give me a break. They’re supposed to be able to sum up their entire platform in 2 or 3 words? Please…

One Response to “What’s in a Name?”

  1. fontor
    October 4, 2006 at 5:45 pm #

    It is frustrating that politics is so important, yet most people just don’t pay attention to it. And elections are decided by the inattentive and poorly-informed majority.

    I have to say though, that in the the last six years, Republicans have benefited most from this inertia. As a Democrat, it’s driven me ape to watch as issue after issue has failed to get traction against Team Bush.

    Maybe that’s changing. Every once in a while people will fix on some event that I see as trivial because it’s immediately graspable. Dick Cheney shooting a guy in the face is a perfect example. People were able to grasp it. The current Foley scandal (not trivial) is also a huge wake-up for most people; people get pedophilia.

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