One of those random musings on the way into work this morning, so I thought
I would ask my wide range of friends here what they thought.
Question - has anyone ever changed their intended vote as a result of seeing
yard signs or bumper stickers?
My thought is that both of them are a waste of time & money as most people
have already made up their mind, and if not, they probably aren't going to
be swayed just by seeing someone's sign. Those that can be influenced by
the facts aren't going to believe political advertising, and those that
don't care about the facts aren't going to change no matter what they see or
Unfortunately, too large a percentage of people don't research the
candidates prior to going to vote. Or, if they do, they are only concerned
with one or two offices. I read somewhere that name recognition can account
for 20%+ of total votes.
IE a person goes to the poll because they wish to vote for their
candidate in the congressional race, but "recognize" the name on the ballot
for school board, sherrif, state representative, ect... and also vote for
them based solely on the name recognition factor. Hence the forest of yard
signs, bumper stickers, ect. I also doubt that many people will actually
change their vote based on one of the above. But for the weak minded.......
They can be used to intimidate an opponent's voters into not turning
out. In our town the Democrats put up tons of signs even before it is
legal to do so for this purpose. If there are 5 democrats on a street
with 15 voters there will be 5 signs up even though the street might be
Republican. And this area voted Bush and a Republican congressman in
the last election.
Wayne Tiffany wrote:
Wayne, thanks for calling this OT - it surely is. I appreciate that,
and respond because of that.
To other peoples points, name recognition and repitition might
influence votes ... I know when I've seen a candidates name repeated in
signs it made me at least look into the person .
My current governor and senator were unknown to me before I saw signs
for thier campaigns, when, as a an observer, I thought that candidates
with the name 'blagojevich' and 'barack obama' were simply doomed based
on their names.
How wrong I was (and what a credit to the open mindedness of folks from
Illinois. Hooray for Ilinois!)
... and in the case of Obama, we in Illinois might have elected what we
all really hope for - the real deal that we all (republican, democrat,
etc) really want. In the years since the election, this guy continues
to impress me. How he got past having a name similar to' public enemy
number one', I do not know _I think the voters are smarter than common
wisdom (and I, when it comes down to it) give them credit for
Back to the topic of signs... one value of signs is that you can see
who your neighbor is for. If you are impressed by your neighbor, you
will at least look into their choice (as shown on their lawn). This is
The second benefit of signs is that it gives you a sense of what a
neighborhood is about.
I lived in Wheaton, Illinois, at the time of the last presidential
election in the US.
For perspective, it was maybe 2004 that Wheaton College finally removed
the restriction on dancing from their undergrads. That is Wheaton,
There were a lot ( a lot!) of Bush signs in Wheaton, and very (very)
few Kerry signs. When Keyes decided to run for the senate after the
republican nominee Ryan's campaign for the senate blew up in a haze of
sex clubs, etc, there were Keyes signs in yards a few days later though
Keyes is likeley ceritifiably insane (my interpretation - I do not have
a degree in psychology -and to be fair, he seems prettty smart and
could go somewhere with his life if he could just get past that
Someone rolling through Wheaton, Ilinois might get a sense of the
community mood by those signs in the yards.
If you pass through Wheaton and LIKE Wheaton and all it stand for ,
then darn it, you might just be influenced by seeing Bush and Keyes
signs in yards and say 'those are the guys that I ought to look into'.
And that is a valid way to look at your vote - "I like the people who
like these candidates, so I just might vote for them."
That is the value of signs, as I see it.
And now that I've worked it out, I feel guilty about not posting my
You can also be creative and make your own. When a local politician
pushed the wheel tax through, I painted a sign on the side of an old
tractor tire (5ft diameter) and put it out front. It said, "Cindy Tax
Now Ed E. should know what a wheel tax is although by another name. It
is a local tax paid at the time you renew your registration and
purportedly earmarked for road repairs and construction. In Chicagoland
it is known as a City Sticker. The City Sticker in Chicago is, I
believe, still collected separately from license registration with the
state. In this state it is collected along with the fees for the plate
by the BMV and returned eventually to the locality from which it was
Thanks for the explanation of the wheel tax. I was, frankly, hoping
for something more primeival.
There are many towns in my area that have city stickers for cars
(PITA), and I have lived in some of them. However, I never got to the
point of making a gaint wheel, putting it in my yard, and declaring
'tax-this. I admire that.
I have the good fortune of being delightfully unencumberd by
city-rules. Last year I moved to a tiny, tiny, tiny, unincorporated
town surrounded by the 2nd and 4th largest cities in Illinois - to get
a sense of the size of where Ilive, I am 0.8% of the entire population.
People who drive by it every day or even live in the area don't know
The 'mayor' of Eola is officially designated as the person with the
most beer in their garage (true fact) I will never be mayor because I
keep my beer in my fridge.
But I am the only one with a trebuchet, so I guess I am Eola's miltary.
And if Aurora tries to incorporate us, I am prepared to kick their
-Ed 'fighting for freedom since 2005' Eaton
There is a place like that over near Glenview as well.
.8 percent, hmmm. 125 people. Pretty substantial town by Western
standards, or an apartment complex or one floor of Cabrini Green by