News360 Perspective


Political yard signs in a heavily divisive year: Are they working as intended?

Posted at 5:44 AM, Oct 21, 2020

There have been presidential campaign signs in American yards since John Quincy Adams ran and won in 1824. And, of course, they're back again this year.

The idea behind the yard sign is simple. It says, "This is who I'm voting for. And since I, your neighbor who you like, am voting for this person, then maybe you'll consider voting for this person, too."

Do they work? A little bit. According to a 2015 study by Columbia University, yard signs on average increase a candidate's voter share by 1.7%.

This year, however, it seems like they work really well... at something else entirely.

In this hair-trigger, rage-fueled, vastly divided election year, yard signs feel like provocations as much as endorsements. "This is my guy. I dare you to say something."

Will anyone see a yard sign this month and go, "Oh. Look who Dave's voting for"?

More likely it'll be, "Dave's voting for him?!"

Be honest, when is the last time you had a conversation about politics with someone you disagreed with and really listened to their arguments with an open mind?

Heck, when is the last time you had a conversation about politics with someone you disagreed with... that was civil, anyway?

The only opinion yard signs are changing this year are the opinions about the person whose yard the sign is in.

I want this to be just the beginning of this conversation.

If you have a presidential campaign sign in your yard, let us know why you put it up. Were you hesitant about putting it up?

If you don't have one, how do you feel when you see one this year? Does it affect how you feel about that candidate? Does it affect how you feel about the person who put it up?

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