Monday, October 17, 2016

Where are all the political yard signs?

This time four years ago, here in Delaware County, New York, there were Romney for President or Obama for President signs everywhere you looked. Of course, this is considered by many to be Republican “redneck country” so there were a lot more Romney signs. But, now 22 days before the 2016 election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton there are really few signs to be seen. Amazon orders are down and  political party operatives are not going house to house to give them out this time around.
Has the country become so polarized and the political discourse so poisoned that people are afraid to put out political signs? Indeed, as we have all seen on television news, many of those Trump supporters have proven themselves to be mean, rowdy and violent.
Some political campaign experts have written that the signs are not around because of the spike in social media use and neighborhood or village regulations. As far as things go here in Roxbury, there are no restrictions. I suppose that a “F...k Trump” or “F...k Clinton” sign might cause some problems.
There are also questions as to whether these political yard signs make any difference.   A study by Columbia University and Binghamton University researchers found that, on average, lawn signs might move vote share by about 1.7 percentage points. That is on par with direct mail advertising. Kevin Frank, a communications director for the  Massachusetts Democratic Party is quoted as saying “lawn signs don’t vote” and a lot of lawn signs does not necessarily translate into a lot of votes.
So, I decided to do a little local research. Today, I drove the 18.8 miles along  State Route 30 from Grand Gorge to Margaretville. The results: 5 Trump/Pence signs, 2 Clinton/Kaine signs and one sign that said “They all suck”.
One of the signs was in front of our house… you will have to guess whether it was for Trump or Clinton.

1 comment:

  1. You make some great points. I don't believe that signs have any effect on voting. I don't think it sways undecideds. It is just a money raising product to sell and hopefully, the candidates get their email addresses for their lists. I think a reason for less signs in this election cycle is that people may be voting for one or the other but, indicated by favorable ratings, they are both so unpopular, few want to advertise for their choice.

    I do think there is also the fear factor of retaliation for putting up anti Trump signs (I don't believe it happens the other direction). In a small town particularly, I always felt that when you depend on a small pool of contractors who tend to be the "Local Boys" and tend to be Republican, you might better keep your politics to yourself if you want their services.

    Down here in Raleigh, NC, I have seen several Trump signs on properties but also Hillary bumper stickers. Not many in either case.