Posters cause conflict as campaign season begins

Election posters are now plastered across the nation; voters may complain about them – and rivals may rip them down – but nothing is as effective at moving votes

The battle of the most attractive lampposts kicked off on Saturday at midnight when candidates were allowed to decorate public spaces with their campaign posters for the local elections on November 19.

As revealed by a recent survey, most people dislike the posters. KMD Analyse asked 2,000 people what they think about the posters that are now lining the nation's streets. Two thirds of respondents viewed the posters negatively, with 40 percent saying that they were old fashioned and 18 percent wishing that they would be banned altogether.

But like them or not, a study by the University of Copenhagen (KU) after the 2009 local elections showed that the posters remain the most effective means of campaigning.

Kasper Møller Hansen, a KU researcher and professor, was surprised by the results but had a theory about why the posters are so effective.

"Party websites, voter meetings and social media are all things you have to look for on your own initiative, but it is impossible to avoid being exposed to election posters," Hansen told DR Midt & Vest.

READ MORE: 2013 Election Guide

More posters this time
The printing company printed 150,000 posters for this year's election, compared to 69,000 in 2009, DR Nordjylland reports.

The posters are allowed to be displayed for four Saturdays before the election and must be removed within eight days after the election takes place. 

But some eager volunteers jumped the gun and put up posters on Friday afternoon, creating a minor scandal that played out on social media. City Council has announced that it is aware of the problem, but so far there have been no consequences for the early starters.

700 conservative posters torn down
Copenhagen City Council candidate Rasmus Jarlov (K) didn't jump the gun, but he saw some 700 of his posters torn down by unknown vandals.

Vandalism has targeted candidates from other right-wing parties as well but Jarlov said he didn’t think that someone from the left wing was behind it.

READ MORE: Party Profile: Konservative

"We don't know who did it," Jarlov told Politiken newspaper. "I am sure it wasn't the other political parties. They all respect each other's work."

Jarlov said the torn-down posters cost his campaign more than 20,000 kroner, and since the operation seems to have been both well-planned and time-consuming, he finds it curious that no witnesses called the police. Now he and his volunteers have to start all over again.

"What upsets me most is that my volunteers now have to get out in the rain and put up posters the exact same places as they put them [Saturday]," he said.