The Red November

The current public sentiment clearly favors the democratic brand, but running blue could have dire consequences. In a previous article I looked at how the Minnesota Republican Party is exclusively using the color blue for their incumbent federal candidates up for reelection. Some pointed out that blue has almost always been the color of choice for campaign signs, and this appears to be true, at least as the primary color. My research revealed very little information about House and Senate signs, but I did stumble upon a wide assortment of past presidential signs dating back to 1964.

Sorting through the collection at I stumbled upon a curious trend. Dating back to 1964 only four presidential nominees have ever ran a campaign in which their yard signs did not feature the color red; of these four tickets, only two were elected, Carter-Mondale (1976) and Reagan-Bush (1980). Interestingly the 1980 presidential election was devoid of the color red. That leaves just one loser, the McGovern-Shriver ticket of 1972.

1972: McGovern-Shriver (D) vs. Nixon-Agnew (R*)

1976: Carter-Mondale (D) vs. Ford-Dole (R*)

1980: Carter-Mondale (D*) vs. Reagan-Bush (R)

2008: Obama-Biden (D) vs. McCain-Palin (R)

A candidate with a blue sign, bearing no red has never defeated an opponent with a red, white and blue sign; this scenario has only occurred twice however. Still the statistics greatly favor the candidate who incorporates all of America's colors.

If we now look at the 2008 campaign signs it is apparent that Obama has a red, white and blue sign, while McCain's features blue, white and yellow. This year's race also marks the first time since 1960, possibly ever, in which a major party nominee has used yellow on their campaign sign. The meaning of yellow on McCain's sign is clearly meant to subliminally convey "support for the troops," of which McCain has clearly not supported [Source: 1, 2, 3]. If McCain was insistent on color messaging he perhaps could have sent a better message by using red instead. As it stands now, the odds are stacked against McCain.

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9 Response(s) to The Red November

ks dem
9/13/2008 6:08:35 AM CT

this is funny. or not. next to cost, packaging is probably one of the most important factors in brand choices.
9/15/2008 8:13:24 PM CT

I am scared of McCain and Palin and the possibility of what they would do to America.
9/15/2008 9:33:04 PM CT

OKAY IF you believe in the premise. sounds to reflexive though, i hope our election boils down to more than this
9/16/2008 9:24:17 PM CT

I think the yellow shows the stripe running up McSongbirds back. He is not a hero. He has been brainwashed. If he gets elected then it will come out in his actions. You can tell the leak has started.
9/17/2008 12:52:28 AM CT

The yellow is more gold, and is all about the Navy. Good stuff, though.
keeping up
9/19/2008 6:29:54 AM CT

McCain talks a lot osmack about all the bucking he has been doing seems like no one listen to him huh for 8 years of problems huh/but on 26 years he is not or have ever been a house speaker or whip he is a Washington guy that been their too long, for most the GOV,bosses I ran into teach their puppets to say if you don't like this job just leave he must have been sleep on that memo
hopes this gets their
9/19/2008 6:47:48 AM CT

Obama here's a good budget plan like Biden say's we must get in so I work a job that pats okay and if president will work for you I suggest on the debt all FED GOV employees get 2day's a month furlough from pay for 6 months and that will help some; bring most or all the troops home just leave the corps of engineers over their with maybe 15000 troops,evryone who get's a check deduct 2$ a pay for 5 month's this will help and won't hurt no one for your vision for America was right we can see that by your primary win and people who know about America Biden was right if you are sitting on it it time to pay up for we see all of you fronting but meaning well supporting other nation's for ump; right off's that's patrioatic and American if other's see different they are Elitist and pumpus if that doesn't work decrease every tax return by 25.00 that will get it together I 'm poor and willing to sacrifice for at least under your governing I will feel my money is goingto the right place.
stclaire, O 8
9/21/2008 9:27:49 AM CT

I hope and pray that voters will dig deep and analyze the impact of this election. I myself, I will base my vote for what I see in my neighborhood, the prices of foods when I go to the grocery, gas for our cars, our mortgage that could go up in two years and most of all, working in an environment where a daily painful sights of returning warriors with severe injuries, loss of limbs and obvious PTSD. These are just a fraction why I need to vote and encourage everyone I know to exercise their rights to change the course of this nation. Last weekend, I walk around with blistered foot and tried to remind people that I encountered, that there?s only one right person that can lead this country in times of war and deteriorating economy. I pray to God literally everyday and on Sundays, I make an effort to light a candle, praying that this country will somehow find ways to rebuilt and say once more; hello world! we are back.
Osborne Ink
10/2/2008 6:56:27 PM CT

Fonts are also important. The lower-case C in McCain gives the illusion that he's being upstaged by the lesser candidate on the ticket, while the font sizes in Obama's sign clearly heighten his importance. McCain's publicity department is repeating the mistake Kerry's campaign made by putting the two candidates in the same font size:


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