Legendary SUSU elections pundit “Shiny” David Howell has cast his expert eye over the campaign spending of candidates – read on for his analysis…

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The field may be slightly thinner than previously anticipated, but there’s still seven Presidential candidates seeking the top job, and with all the other races down the ballot too, none stand a chance of victory without campaign impact. In recent years, it has generally been the case that the more of your campaign budget you spend early, the better you’re going to do in the vote – because those materials then get seen all week. There’s a particular benefit to early poster spending – for instance, in 2011, all but one winning candidate spent more than half of their budget on posters.

Election posters - are they worth it?

Election posters – are they worth it?

Joe Hart apparently got the memo. As of Monday afternoon, he had already spent every penny of his £60 campaign budget – and 90% of it had gone on posters. That £54 went on two large batches – including £24 on four monster A0 posters, at £6 each. An equivalent area of A3 posters would have cost only £2.40, but would it have the same level of impact? Could someone create a series of eight posters that connect with each other to create an approximation of an A0 poster at £3.60 less? The rest of his money, incidentally, was for advertising on the Soton Tab.

As discussion continues over the timing of the 24-hour library announcement, the man who pressed for the policy has also been showing his campaign smarts with big early spending. David Mendoza-Wolfson ended the weekend with precisely 61p left in his locker, with £24.90 on posters and almost as much on a thousand flyers. That’s a new strategy – I had the impression flyers had previously been banned – and an interesting one to watch.

Jed Dummer-Marshall has also gone all-in on the poster plan, with every penny of his £54 spent to date going on posters, while early favourite Marcus Burton has gone for a balanced strategy – spending most of his money early, but keeping a tenner handy for the final stretch, and combining posters with painted bedsheets and a TV ad. Doing what your rivals aren’t is also a good strategy, one that Dean Jones carried to VP Sports Development victory in 2012, and the classic bedsheet blitz isn’t as prevalent in this race as in many others in the past.

Every other candidate is keeping a lot of powder dry, with pirate-themed campaigner Michael Andrews leaving £40 on deck (though he has one piece of expenditure confirmed but not yet revealed). Both Andrews and Laura Mason have spent just £15 on posters so far, and recent electoral history suggests that is a major tactical error. However, it is said that history is there to be rewritten, and that it is written by the winners. Will Mason’s dispersal of spending across time and format put her in a position to write a new chapter in the SUSU electoral story?

Are posters the best shout for campaign budgeting? What else do you notice most? Let us know in comments.

17 Comments »

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  • Hmm
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    Pretty sure one of the candidates is a woman? Why does the title only say his?

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    Mark
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    In fairness the candidate who’s spent all their budget is a “He”. The title is also in singular.

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  • Laura
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    His budget!? But thank you for noticing I haven’t spent all of my money – am saving the pennies for my investment ideas :)

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  • shoopdawoop
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    “his”?
    um

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  • Emily
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    The title of this piece is a trashy shame, but it’s somewhat uplifting to see that (at the time of posting) all the comments on this article are pointing that out :)

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  • Bridget Clay
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    Hiya,
    If you read the article, it becomes clear that the candidate to whom the title makes reference is Joe Hart, who is the only one who had done what the title said, i.e., spent all of his budget by Monday, and he is male.

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    Emily
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    But the whole point of the title is that it’s meant to be suspense? If you’d said “CAMPAIGN IMPACT ANALYSIS: Which Presidential candidate used up ALL of her budget by Monday?” we’d know it was Laura right off the bat. Suspense ruined.

    So, why is she being excluded just because it wasn’t her?

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    A Level Student
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    Use of the word ‘their’ could probably have solved that problem.

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    Emily
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    Still could. I don’t understand why literally all the comments on this article are complaining about this and yet it hasn’t just been changed.

    Given the tab have already humiliated themselves once today with their ridiculous “Fit Candidates” article, I would have thought they’d be eager to not come across as sexists idiots…

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    Charlotte
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    All the comments written between 6:23 PM and 12:23 AM, probably all written by people who all had it pointed out to them by “Hmm”, the original poster. I for one am glad that Soton Tab has allowed more than 6 hours to read comments from people who are not complaining. Obviously the Fit Candidates was a mistake, but surely using gender specific pronouns is not overt sexism. This gives the fight for equality a pedantic, trivial texture that avoids focusing on any real issues. Instead it plays up to a stereotype (incorrect I might add) that we (as feminists) are rebels without cause.

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    Emily
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    Actually it was first (to my knowledge) pointed out here https://www.facebook.com/groups/oursusu/permalink/750517451634233/?comment_id=750542794965032&offset=0&total_comments=33 at 18:10 by me.

    I agree that it’s not intentionally or maliciously sexist, it’s just that the writer, and the editor that checked it, has missed a nuance that I thought I could expect from University-level writing: the point of the title is “hey, read this article to find out who used up their whole budget so quickly”. Joe’s name is deliberately left out of the title to coax the reader in and, as such, his identity (including his gender) are yet to be revealed. At that time, therefore, the title should be ambiguously referring to the candidate in question (using “their”). Using “his” in the title reveals that it couldn’t have been Laura, thus excluding her from the “pot” of candidates.

    Perhaps I’m expecting too much, but it’s a bit annoying that I’ve already explained this reasoning, only to be ignored – perhaps Bridget disagrees with me, perhaps she simply doesn’t think that’s the style of writing she wants in the SotonTab, but just ignoring what I will continue to assume as 5 separate people’s criticism (on here – there is more criticism of Facebook) seems a bit odd to me.

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    Simon Boyce
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    I’m sure the writer, as a staunch feminist, meant no harm.

    "Shiny" David Howell
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    I certainly didn’t mean any harm, but I certainly accept that “their” would have added to the suspense (and I’d probably have thought to do it were it Laura in the position). And, well, it was a suspense-building headline. :)

    I’m as furious as anyone about the other article yesterday (those familiar with my past election coverage will remember my disdain for that) and am delighted it’s gone – the Tab seem to be a lot more accountable now than in their launch year, which is why I even felt able to consider writing for them.

    I apologise for any unintended sexism or spoilers (and I’m guilty on the latter at the least).

    Emily
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    ^^ Finally, some voices of reason – thanks David and Simon… how come you two aren’t the editors-in-chief?

    anon
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    ^^ I rated you down, but i do think Dave is pretty awesome… Go Dave!

  • Charlotte
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    The reason the article says his is due to the fact that the candidate who had spent all of his budget by Monday, Joe Hart, chooses to identify as a male. Is it sexist to refer to a male as he? please discuss.

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  • Charlotte
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    Grammar correction:

    The reason the article says “his”, is due to the fact that the candidate who had spent all of his budget by Monday, Joe Hart, chooses to identify as a male. Is it sexist to refer to a male as he? Please discuss.

    Reply