A recent poll shows posters are not a big factor when voters are making up their minds and a Cobh politician suggests Ireland should follow the town’s lead and either ban them or limit their use.
An Ipsos MRBI poll found only 7% of the general public felt posters played a part in how people voted in the recent referendum on the Eighth Amendment. Posters, and particularly some of the imagery and claims made by the No side, were a contentious subject throughout the referendum campaign.
Ken Curtin, secretary of Cobh Tidy Town, is unsurprised by the findings and says there is strong support locally for the group’s unofficial but widely accepted ban.
“The general response to the poster ban is very positive, people think the place looks better without them,” he said. “There is a broad consensus, as shown in those poll figures, that the influence on voting behaviour is not significant.”
In fact, he says those who ignore the ban can face a backlash.
“In the most recent referendum, there was a genuine backlash to the fact that a few posters were put up by the no side. By resisting the ban, they managed to convince people who might not have been leaning one way, to come out for yes. They were upset at posters going up in their town despite local wishes.”
Cobh’s poster ban was not brought in for the referendum, it was also in place for the most recent local and general elections. Mr Curtin, who ran himself as a candidate and hopes to do so again, again acknowledges that posters are an effective way for new politicians to get their faces and names into the public consciousness.
But he suggests alternatives should be considered: “My preference would be we go down the road that is the norm in a lot of countries and have designated places and that’s it - no other posters anywhere.”