They’re popping up in Raleigh, so here’s my perennial rant.
There is no greater waste of time and money in a campaign than yard signs.
No voter – ever – has said, “OMG, look at that sign! The colors! The design! The font! I must vote for this candidate!!”
Campaigns are about getting information to voters. Yard signs communicate no information. They rarely even identify party. There are exceptions, which prove the rule. “Conservative.” “Christian.” Or, maybe for a certain Charlotte mayoral candidate, “White.”
Yard signs are a lazy – and inaccurate – way of measuring who’s winning. Which makes them a nightmare for campaign managers. Candidates and their friends and family members are always obsessed with yard signs. As in, “I just got a call from my friend Bob in North Ridge, and he says our opponent’s signs are EVERYWHERE!!”
A good campaign manager figures out a way to manage this obsession and yet stay focused on the things that actually win campaigns. And a good manager remembers that, out of every 100 yard signs ordered and paid for, about 80 will end up in somebody’s car, attic or garage.
Now, you can learn some things from yard signs. Raleigh City Council candidate Stef Mendell’s signs feature what appears to be a mushroom cloud. (Is North Korea an issue?) Closer examination determined that it’s an oak tree.
Mayor Nancy McFarlane’s logo features a leaf. Oak, presumably. Signs for her opponent, Charles Francis, have what looks like a small nut. It’s an acorn.
Clearly, trees are big here. But how many trees were killed to make yard signs?