My esteemed ThunderJournaling colleague Ryan poses a question that I've been ruminating on lately:
Are people really, REALLY influenced by election lawn signs?
The short answer is "no".
The long answer is yes, but only those with the intellect of a weevil and the individualistic instincts of a sheep. A "sheevil" if you will.
There are two flavors of lawn sign, and each, I think, is intended to have a different effect on the beholder. The first type is comprised of the signs touting candidates for the hyper-local, low level offices like state legislature, county boards, city officers, etc. Since these campaigns have few funds with which to advertise, and many of the contests do not carry party designations on the ballot, the hope is to get the voter to remember the name of the candidate in association with a pleasant color or design. So when the voter gets into the booth and is done making off all the important races, the hope is that he or she, impatient to get the hell out of Wellstone Middle School's gym still reeking from that day's lunch menu of imitation fish sticks and raspberry Jell-o, will notice a name he or she recognizes and hastily fill in those ovals.
Let's face it: when was the last time you researched the nuances of the Soil and Water District Commissioner candidates' positions? Or for that matter, which soil and water district you're in?
The second flavor of lawn sign is, of course, those bearing the names of the statewide or national candidates: President, US Senate and House and governor. Now these campaigns of of such widespread import, that the candidates are routinely mentioned on the news, and the campaigns have budgets sizable enough to allow for more mass media advertising. By election day the candidates' names, party affiliations and attributes are fairly common knowledge. Therefore, those who display these signs fall into 2 categories.
The first, are those who think that if there are far more signs of one candidate than the other, the sheevil-like voters out there will assume that everyone else is voting for that candidate, succumb to some sort of perceived peer pressure and vote accordingly. This explains why many left-wing douchebags have been caught stealing Republican signage or literature, and replacing them with their own. They actually believe, that more signage equals more votes, trying to corner the most easily influenced bloc of voters: the lazy, the apathetic and the stupid. I think they are wasting their energy since those people have always been a key Democrat constituency.
The second type are the strident narcissists. These people plant signs in their yards not to advertise their preferred candidate, but rather to make a statement. And that statement is this: "Even though you could care less about my political opinion and would never in a million years ask for it, here it is anyway because IT'S JUST THAT IMPORTANT for me to tell it to you."
(I suppose you could sy the same thing about this ThunderJournal. But that's a completely different situation. It just is. Beacause I said so. Stop looking at me like that.)
I can't figure out which is more annoying. Let's call it a tie. And that is why there is only one lawn sign that has ever graced by impeccably manicured lawn. And that will not likely change, unless someone creates a lawn sign that looks like an Obama sign at first glance, but instead of "Obama" it actually says "Orgasm".