Voter Preference or Visual Pollution?

Sunday, October 24, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:03 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 10, 2008

With the campaign season at its height, election propaganda has saturated our lives. Yard signs, buttons and live debates all try to persuade us to cast our votes in a particular direction. Political society scrutinizes everything from size and placement of signs to the potential backlash and spin of negative advertising. Taking a casual glace at our landscape, some could debate whether campaign advertising has reached a point of diminishing returns. Does a discarded sticker really aid political understanding or simply litter the sidewalk? Does a flurry of campaign signs actually encourage voting or simply mar the ambience of downtown? Are we visually shouting so loud that we have become numb to the process?


The window of a vending machine reflects television images from the presidential debate at Washington University in St. Louis. In this debate format, the candidates took questions submitted in advance from the audience of about 150 undecided voters chosen by the Gallup polling organization. (Petrova Valentina/Missourian)


A photograph of U.S. Sen. Kit Bond lies on the ground at the Pumpkin Festival in Hartsburg. (Uwe H. Martin/Missourian)



supporter Mary Dresser carries a sign as she walks out of

post-presidential debate focus group discussions at MU. (Valentina Petrova/Missourian)


Signs cover the window of the Boone County Democratic Headquarters in Columbia. (Alex Cooney/Missourian)


A stencil of presidential candidate John Kerry’s last name awaits use on the floor of Democratic headquarters in Columbia. The headquarters organized a sign painting party, and conflict broke out when one young visitor painted a sign in support of President Bush.

(Shauna Bittle/Missourian)

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