Most any political pro worth his or her salt will agree: Nothing in a campaign consumes more time, energy and discussion – to less avail – than yard signs.
Candidates obsess about them. So do their families. And their strongest supporters.
But no voter in the history of our democracy has ever seen a sign along the road and said: “I really like that sign. I’m going to vote for that candidate.”
Campaigns are about getting information to voters. Educating them about a candidate’s record and issues.
Signs say nothing. Today, they rarely even tell you the candidates’ party.
Maybe you are influenced if a neighbor supports a candidate you know nothing about. But that could help or hurt the candidate, depending on the neighbor.
When I ran campaigns, I loved having opponents who spent a lot of time and money on yard signs. Especially big signs with big sticks holding them up. Yes, please, spend your money on signs instead of TV, mail or something that might get you votes.
And what possesses a candidate to think: “I won’t just put up one sign along the right of way here. I’ll put up a dozen! One right after the other!”
The worst miscreant around here is John Alexander. As one undecided voter said, “I’m voting against him. He’s a litterbug.”
My favorite is Kenn Gardner, who is running for something here. His signs say, helpfully, “Double N.” As if some voter would see it and say, “That’s what I’m talking about. All my life I’ve been looking for a politician who spells Ken with two Ns.”
Now, one caveat. Signs are important to the candidate’s psychology, and that’s not to be underestimated. The most important person in the campaign is the one who puts up the signs along the route the candidate takes to HQ or an event.