October 05, 2004
From the Department of Anecdotal Evidence

Inspired by this Kevin Drum post, I took a little informal yard-sign survey of my neighborhood this past weekend. Now, I expected Kerry/Edwards supporters to greatly outnumber Bush/Cheney fans. I live in a Democratic enclave, I had only seen K/E signs so far walking around, and to the best of my recollection there were more Gore/Lieberman signs than Bush/Cheney by about a 3-1 ratio in 2000. (There were also a handful of Nader/LaDukes, and one lonely personal billboard for Harry Browne, the Libertarian candidate.) So I drove around and I counted how many houses had K/E signs, and how many had B/Cs.

The tally: 74 for Kerry/Edwards, six for Bush/Cheney. Oh, and one for Michael Badnarik; it was in front of the same house that had supported Harry Browne, as best I could tell.

Seventy-four to six. I expected a big difference, but a 12-1 ratio was more than I thought. Maybe, just maybe, Kerry's supporters are more enthusiastic than you might think. As for Bush/Cheney, I feel pretty certain there were more than six signs in their favor last time, but at the time I didn't realize I'd someday have an audience for that kind of rumination, so I can't say for sure what their level of support was. I can say for sure that K/E is kicking G/L's behind.

I'll check again the weekend before the election and see what the final tally is. How does it look where you are?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 05, 2004 to The making of the President | TrackBack

I'd guess that my neighborhood is probably about 3:1, maybe 4:1, Kerry:Bush. Maybe I'm wrong, though- I'll have to check.

I'll tell you a story: I went yesterday to pick up some dry cleaning from my dry cleaners on Washington. Like a lot of small businesses, they have a dollar bill prominently displayed under the glass on the counter, which I assumed was the first dollar they ever made.

When I looked more closely, I saw that it was a parody "9-11" bill, with an unflattering portrait of Bush. All the words were insults about Bush, calling him "deceiver in chief" and whatnot. I couldn't believe it.

Posted by: Ted Barlow on October 5, 2004 4:27 PM

Yeah, While Jenn and I were walking around some side streets to the Heights Festival, there were so many signs that I said, "I guess it's a safe bet that Kerry will carry the Heights".

Hope my sign got counted in your tally. It's up in my attic window right now. I need to find out where I can get a real yard sign.

Posted by: Rob Humenik on October 5, 2004 4:52 PM

Actually, Rob, it didn't. I was only looking at lawns. Seventy-five!

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 5, 2004 5:16 PM

Drove thru half the subdivision and saw one sign out of 300 homes. BC04 (a HPD lieutenant's home).

Very surpised as I live in a mostly minority Dem precinct in deepest Alief.

Posted by: Charles M on October 5, 2004 5:27 PM

Don't think I've seen a BC sign up here in Joisey, but most of the signs I've seen are for the mayoral campaign, where we have 13 (?!?!) candidates and there won't be a runoff. Most of the Kerry signs I've seen aren't Kerry-Edwards, but are for Kerry and local (state?) politicians, and date back to the primary.

Posted by: Ginger on October 5, 2004 5:42 PM

My daughter just this past week commented to me about the lack of Bush/Cheney signs in the neighborhoods she haunts. We live in the lower Westheimer area near Lamar HS and she spends every other weekend in the Heights with her mother. She says she hasn't seen any signs for the Republican candidates, but has seen quite a few for Kerry/Edwards in both of her neighborhoods.

We're going out to a Scott Hochberg fundraiser in a Republican neighborhood tonight and take count of what we see. For myself I've seen quite a few "W" bumper stickers, but precious few yard signs. The kid is wondering if mebbe the BC04 people are just saving their money on signs around this state.

Nice theory, but not exactly their M.O.

Posted by: Bucky on October 5, 2004 5:48 PM

I live in the Bluffview neighborhood in North Dallas. I have not done an actual count but I would say it is pretty close between K/E yard signs and B/C yard signs here.

The real sign war though is Frost v Sessions. Many many more signs and a definite lead for Frost in this neighborhood.

Posted by: bill on October 5, 2004 7:04 PM

What of sample size? Six is an awfully small number of Bush supporters from which to make a ratio with Kerry supporters.

Posted by: B. K. Oxley (binkley) on October 5, 2004 9:47 PM

Anyone know where I can get a Badnarik sign?

Posted by: Tim on October 5, 2004 10:04 PM

I live in Montrose, and I think that the Kerry/Edwards bumper stickers in my neighborhood outnumber the Bush/Cheney stickers at around 42-1. There aren't that many yard signs up yet on my Hyde Park dog walking route.

Posted by: 'stina on October 5, 2004 10:04 PM

Binkley - Like I said, anecdotal evidence only. I'd never claim this was anything remotely like a scientific survey.

Tim - Here's the scoop from the Badnarik campaign. If I get a chance, I'll see if the sign in my 'hood has a local contact number for you.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on October 5, 2004 10:09 PM

Here in Waco I don't recall seeing many of either presidential ticket. The sign wars are almost entirely between Chet Edwards and Arlene Wohlgemuth (wow, I really had to look up that spelling) with Edwards winning the signage and bumper sticker war. Chet Edwards has these huge red signs that simply say "Chet Edwards for Congress". Arlene put up a bunch of ugly green signs but appears to have given up on them and now has signs up that say:

A winning team

Or something like that.

Posted by: Kent on October 5, 2004 11:54 PM

I live in Montrose/River Oaks, and my apt is the only one on the block with a K/E yard sign - though no B/C either. However, I did notice a lot more K/E yard signs cropping up on the side streets in the area within the last week or so.

Even in Clear Lake area (where I work) I see more K/E signs than I expected.

I still see too many W car stickers though.

Posted by: BMD on October 6, 2004 8:15 AM

Do swing-staters count? A report from Woodbury, MN.

On my suburban block, there are exactly two yard signs, both BC04. There will soon be a third, albeit different, sign, once the KE campaign here gets their next shipment in (I'm on a waiting list). The wife and I agonized over firing the first salvo in the Yard Sign Wars, but our neighbors resolved that issue for us, thanksverymuch.

Outside our neighborhood, though, it's much more even; without a count, I'd call it 50-50.

OT: This past Saturday, I went canvassing in a St. Paul precinct that had one of the lowest statewide voter turnouts in 2000 (35%). I was gratified to find almost everyone who was home was reistered, and the ones who voiced an opinion were decidedly KE folks. I got one angry young 20-year-old who nearly ripped the registration card out of my hands, she was so fired up about booting Bush.

One more OT: I ordered a magnetic KE bumper sticker, because I'm driving voters to the polls on 11/2, and I can't have partisan stuff on the minivan. Now I can have my cake and GOTV, too.

Posted by: CrispyShot on October 6, 2004 9:42 AM

There may be something to the theory that the B/C team is going less with yard signs and more with bumper stickers. My neighborhood near Memorial and the beltway is usually a GOP stronghold, but the yard signage is predominately K/E.

On closer inspection of the neighborhood there are a lot of W'04 bumper stickers on cars.

Posted by: Patrick on October 6, 2004 10:07 AM

Predictably, not too many Bush-Cheney yard signs in Austin but lots of scary black Tahoes with 'W: The President' stickers and other such nonsense. Kerry yard signs and stickers are everywhere. Becky Klein has placed one of her signs in every elderly Republican's yard in our neighborhood but I think she's still outnumbered 2:1, including by the six signs the two people who live across the street from her have plastered across their lawns (to a very pleasing effect). She and Doggett are having an all-out sign war - I don't think there are more than two houses on her entire street that don't have a sign for one or the other.

Interestingly, I saw one yard with Todd Baxter (boo!) AND Kerry-Edwards yard signs yesterday. I suppose there really are a handful of Americans who still vote split ticket...

Posted by: sarah on October 6, 2004 10:47 AM

I suppose there really are a handful of Americans who still vote split ticket...

I for one find this very heartening.

Posted by: Tim on October 6, 2004 3:58 PM

I live in a huge collection of apartment complexes in north Dallas, so my neighborhood has no signs at all. But I watch the signs when I drive in residential areas, and it's just as bill says - if you were just to look at the names on the lawns, you'd assume Frost and Sessions were the presidential candidates. I think, of the more than 100 yard signs I've driven past, less than ten have been for any candidate except Sessions and Frost. My sense is that Frost is winning the battle for the lawns by a narrow margin, but I ought to keep a running tally.

On the other hand, I do about 9 hours of highway driving within D/FW every week, and I can say with certainty that most rear windows expressing a preference prefer Bush. The W04 stickers started showing up sometime in 2002, I think, and they've grown steadily in number since.

Posted by: kodi on October 7, 2004 8:18 AM