Why Political Yard Signs Are Useless


| 9/30/2008 4:34:17 PM


Tags: Politics, election 2008, activism, yard signs, organizers,

Bush Kerry Yard SignThe political yard signs that pepper front lawns across the country are a huge waste of time, Organizers—the people out there killing themselves to win this election—hate yard signs with the white-hot intensity of a thousand suns.”

Instead of focusing on yard signs, people should make phone calls, knock on doors, register new voters, write a check, or do something more useful, if they really want to influence an election. Sure, signs make people feel good, but while organizers are forced to deal with yard signs, Quinn writes, “There’s a walk list sitting in a campaign office not being walked and knocked, and a newly-registered voter who projects as .45 of a vote for Obama is not being registered.”

Image by Matthew Trump, licensed under GNU.

hannah lobel_4
10/10/2008 12:39:06 PM

Thanks, Darlene, for sharing your story. I'm not sure if yard signs win any votes, but they definitely aren't useless. Back in primary season, ours was one of two Obama signs on the block. (More have since sprung up.) The other belonged to a husband and wife with two service stars in their window. On a few occasions, I drove by and saw their sign barely holding on amidst some pretty fierce winds. So I'd hop out of my car to fix it. And our neighbor would always thank me at some other time. The sign essentially gave us cause to converse--as it has done with other folks passing by.


darlene motley_1
10/10/2008 12:04:36 PM

I have never put any type of political marking on my yard or car. But this year I was inspired by seeing a Veterans for McCain sign staring me in the face each day. Because it was for some obscure reason important for me to say that I to am a Veteran but in support of Obama I actually went to cafepress and purchased one. And while my street has a lot of McCain signs on it I've noticed and had conversations with the Obama sign neighbors. It has been interesting to see who shares my viewpoints and who doesn't. I actually feel closer to the like-minded individuals. So as much as they are a waste of time and money... They have inspired in me a level of hope seeing that I'm not alone in my little world. It also was a visual commitment to the country that I care about where we are going enough to own it publicly.


jake mohan
10/2/2008 12:43:08 PM

This seems like a logical companion piece to the bumper-sticker critiques I did a while back: http://www.utne.com/2008-06-23/Politics/Road-Rager-on-Board.aspx http://www.utne.com/2008-05-23/GreatWriting/From-the-Stacks-Fourth-Genre.aspx


matt pegler
10/1/2008 7:01:21 PM

Not true. In the marketing world signs like these are used to gain brand recognition and seed the name into your subconscious mind. You would be surprised how many voters only know one or two of the officials they are voting for and vote based on who they believe they recall hearing about or at least a name they recognize. You and I don't vote this way but a large segment does.