Monday, September 7, 2020

Signage scoreboard - updated with commentary on the significance of signs

Here’s what I posted Sunday.

This morning Mr. Scriber and Mrs. Scriber took Max and Maggie for their morning walk in Quail Creek. (Already you know that I’m sugar-coating this. They took us for our walk.) As we walked down Keyes Road and around Alexis loop, we counted the signs for the presidential race. The score was 22 Biden/Harris to nine Trump/Pence.

Can you believe it? 22 to 9. Amazing!

But be skeptical. This is what is known as a sample of convenience - and a small one at that.

Most homes along our route displayed no signage at all. Just based on the occupant rate, I would expect far more than the 31 signs in our sample. Where are all the Trump supporters?

One possibility is that voting for Trump is embarrassing. So many Trump voters are reluctant to declare.

Let’s hope that the 22:9 ratio holds through November.


This Monday afternoon we did a count in two other routes in Quail Creek. Both favored Trump, 14–12 and 18–9.

Not terribly surprising, when you total across routes, you get 43 Biden to 41 Trump.

I’m still encouraged - Quail Creek and Green Valley are quite Republican.

So what do yard signs do? Jim Swift at The Bulwark has some observations.

Somewhere on the Pennsylvania Turnpike

Swing voters. Over my years in politics, I’ve talked to many thousands of voters. And while politics can be kind of a drag these days, I still find talking to voters interesting. As I was in deep-red Geauga County, Ohio this weekend, I saw a yard with political signs and flags and it intrigued me.

Of course, a sign that says “SAVE THE GOP, VOTE BIDEN” is going to appeal to a conservative Republican like me. But no fewer than ten thin blue line American flags? I saw it on my way to Heinen’s, a local grocery store, and later popped into their driveway to ask if I could take a picture. I’m keeping the details vague here since I didn’t plan on writing about my chat with them.

The husband was working on an old car in the garage and was very polite when a total stranger with Virginia plates popped by unsolicited. I didn’t want to take pictures, though totally legal, without their permission. As it turns out, he was an immigrant from the United Kingdom and went from having a green card to get his citizenship just because of the bad orange man and wanting to vote against him. His wife, came a few minutes later, and I was blocking the driveway. Wanting to get out of their hair, I apologized profusely for blocking the driveway and explained what I was doing. She wanted to talk about the signs as a swing voter who often voted Republican. Except not this year, it was straight ticket Democrat. The ten thin blue line flags? As staunch supporters of the police and military, it was to demonstrate that no party has a monopoly on backing the blue.

I explained my interest in the sign, not wanting to seem like a total weirdo, but mentioned I grew up in the area, but that I worked for The Bulwark, which apparently thanks to the SmartNews app, she was a reader of… and a fan!

She told me that the local Democratic party was giving the the “SAVE THE GOP” signs away to disaffected Republicans who aren’t supporting Trump in the fall, and when she the sign at an outdoor booth, she had to have one. As we were talking, a person driving by honked their horn with a thumbs up. A little bit later, another honked their horn a little more sternly. It didn’t sound like approval.

Apparently that happens a lot when they’re outdoors. Remember: this is a deep red part of the greater Cleveland area.

Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I thanked them both and headed back to my parents’ house with my local delicacies from Heinen’s. And then I saw [this]another] house, which is far more indicative of Geauga County’s politics.

And, yes, that is a Trump cut out covered in Christmas lights.

Yard signs don’t really matter. They’re just a way of signalling. Some voters, though, seem to love them. Just like boaters and their Trump flags. An interesting thing is now people will pay for them, where they almost always used to be free (or given to volunteers). And just as some people are obsessed with yard signs, so, too, are people with stealing or defacing them. Which creates a profitable cycle for campaigns, to be sure. As the old adage goes, yard signs don’t vote. And yard signs won’t tell you how many voters are in a house, either. But every so often, you’ll see something intriguing on a yard sign, or an interesting collection of yard signs. My old neighbors, the Lovemans, in 2000, had Bush and Gore yard signs. Houses are often divided.

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