Notes From A Battleground State

Presidential Elections, US Politics

I live in Ohio. In my immediate area there were a lot of Obama signs before the primary. One person on my street was a rabid Hillary Clinton supporter, though. She had about five different Hillary signs on her lawn and festooned to her porch and one big handmade one — “We’ve got your back, Hillary!”

Just drove past her house today and saw this in her yard:

It doesn’t mean that much in and of itself but it made me smile, anyway.



  1. engineer  •  Oct 1, 2008 @8:25 am

    I’m surrounded by McCain signs where I live in NC. I swear my neighbor put up two in his yard just to spite me.

  2. engineer  •  Oct 1, 2008 @8:29 am

    An article from Daily Kos about the difficulty of finding Obama yard signs.

  3. sozobe  •  Oct 1, 2008 @8:40 am

    This is cute!

    We haven’t had a big problem here that I know of. More Obama signs than McCain signs in my area. Lots of offshoots — “Another OHIO citizen for OBAMA,” “[name of city] for Obama,” etc.

  4. nimh  •  Oct 1, 2008 @8:02 pm

    Campaign organisers, of either party, apparently hate yard signs. Not sure why, I guess the logistics involved vs believing it yields little in the way of persuading new voters. But I dunno. I imagine it’s good for the (volunteering) spirit to see the signs around, and everyone likes, in this irrational way, the sense of being part of something big happening.

    We dont really have yardsigns in Holland, or at least I’ve never seen any; maybe in the countryside. Posters though — election posters behind the windows used to be a staple feature of elections. I remember being a little boy (yes, I started off on the wrong path that early), and bicycling around the neighbourhood counting posters.

    It was cool. Neighbourhoods declared themselves, so to say, and it gave this fleeting sense of being part of some kind of larger family, a family with a cause. Even if of course these were competing families. It helped that there were so many parties of course, adding flavour to the variety. Lots for Labour, a fair amount for the right-wing liberals, and a fair smattering of posters for smaller parties, the leftwing ones in particular. Christian-Democrats never really put up posters as much, never understood why.

    All gone now, just doesnt exist anymore. There’s still election posters, but the only place you see them up is on the designated wooden boards by the side of throughfares etc, where party activists put them up (a dreary job, I only did it once). Noone puts a poster on their window anymore. I miss it.

  5. nimh  •  Oct 1, 2008 @8:03 pm

    Hey Engineer, how did you get your avatar up?

    (Your handle suddenly sounds very appropriate.)

  6. sozobe  •  Oct 2, 2008 @5:58 am

    One thing that I’ve found striking — and I don’t know the cause and effect of it — is that there are swaths of one or the other. As in, a whole block of a single street, both sides, will be 60% McCain signs (with the other 40% being NO signs at all).

    Then another block of another street will be 80% Obama signs (20% no signs).

    Is it about seeing that their neighbors support X and then being more willing to state their own support? Is it demographics?

    From what I know about the two blocks in question, I’d tend to go with the latter (though of course it’s maybe both, or some of each with outside interactions, like maybe one neighbor got a bunch of signs and distributed them to others…)

    Anyway, the McCain block is mostly older, retired people. Smallish houses, very carefully tended yards. I think some veterans in there, at least one.

    The Obama block (actually blocks, about four blocks’ worth of one street, both sides) is mostly young families. Also smallish houses, middle class to lower-middle-class. Lots of kids running around, play equipment, etc. Yards are nice but messier.

  7. sozobe  •  Oct 2, 2008 @6:00 am

    Interesting about how things have changed in Holland, nimh.

    One of the Daily Kos articles (there was an original that engineer linked to and then a response to that one) made a good point about Obama and yard signs, I thought — that yard signs are uniquely important for Obama to give that reassurance that hey, he CAN win. He’s safe. Look how many people are supporting him!

    Something like polls, in other words. (He has a 20-pt lead over the other guy, he’s gonna win, my vote won’t be wasted on the loser… something like that.)

    Interesting articles, I don’t know why my area is an exception but it seems to be, both now and in the primaries. Oodles of yard signs.

  8. nimh  •  Oct 2, 2008 @6:49 am

    Yeah, Soz, that kind of observations – like, why all the X signs here, Y signs there, what’s the differences that might correlate to – that was part of what I liked about seeing those election posters behind the windows.

    Their disappearance really must signal something of a cultural seachange, though what’s behind it is hard to say. Decline of idealism? Decline of solid partisan identification? New reluctance to declare this part of who you are to everyone?

  9. dtom  •  Oct 2, 2008 @12:19 pm

    in our area (glendale), it’s pretty rare to see state or national election signs. i’ve noticed there’s not a lot of bumper stickers either. but when it’s election time for city council you don’t want to stand still for too long; you’ll wind up with a sign stapled to your back.

    g-dale has a population that is roughly 52% foreign born, and another chunk of first gens. so i chalk the seeming disinterest in national promo as being from that. most of the non-natives are of one ethnicity and are pretty clannish in that they don’t seem to notice much beyond the effect any issue has on a local level. an example being a huge flap over a proposed public smoking ban.

    interestingly, the younger people of the bloc are much more aware in wider issues, and when you do see an obama sticker, it’s usually on a car driven by a person under 25.

    in general, the only place you see much signage for mccain is farther up the hill where all of the old white guys live.