Yard signs in San Antonio

I note with some interest this story about yard signs in Alamo Heights.

[In Alamo Heights], one of the city’s more affluent enclaves that has long been considered a conservative stronghold, residents are noticing a roughly equal smattering of Bush and Kerry signs.

Political experts say it’s yet another indication that neither candidate has a lock on this year’s vote.

“The wonderful thing about Bexar County is it’s still a two-party county,” said Larry Hufford, a political scientist at St. Mary’s University.

Hufford had one explanation for what appears to be a split in places like Alamo Heights.

“In communities where, economically, one would think it would be overwhelmingly Republican, you find mainstream Protestants and Jewish people very concerned about the influence of the Christian right,” he said.

Alamo Heights is to San Antonio more or less as West University Place is to Houston, with fewer speed traps.

In Bexar County, during the first six days of early voting, 107,167 people cast ballots, compared with 56,218 votes cast during the same period in 2000, said Christian Anderson of Election Support Services.

The early voting period runs through Friday.

Although local early voting is strong everywhere in the county, it is mostly being driven by North Side poll sites. Typically, that indicates strong support for Republican candidates, including President Bush.

But this year, things are too up in the air to rely on that kind of assumptions.

“The thing we wonder about now is has there been an increase in percentages of support for either Republicans or Democrats, or are we just seeing a higher volume?” Anderson said. “It’s hard to tell yet.”


Both campaigns have stepped up outreach efforts and voters hungry to participate routinely visit campaign offices asking for bumper stickers, signs and anything else they can get to show their support for their candidate.

The Bexar County Republican Party has handed out about 10,000 Bush yard signs, officials there said.

Meanwhile, Bexar County Democratic Party officials estimate that more than 11,000 Kerry yard signs have been doled out at their six area offices.

“It’s like they’re playing chess with their neighbors,” said Jesus Huerta, with the Democratic Leadership Council and the party’s West Side office. “Their neighbor gets a sign and then they want one.”

Jim Lunz, a longtime Republican activist, lives in Alamo Heights and said the three precincts that make up the community usually vote about two-thirds Republican.

He agrees there are more Kerry signs in the area than he would have expected, but doesn’t think that necessarily means a stronger Democratic vote this year.

“It may just be that the 33 percent who normally vote Democratic are just expressing themselves openly this year,” he said. “I would look for Bush to at least maintain the level of support he had last time.”

Maybe, but I see a high level of interest as a rising tide, in the sense that if the partisans are more involved then everyone else will be to some extent as well. There’s evidence of that everywhere, and not just in yards or on cars.

Nielsen Media Research reported 62 million viewers watched the first presidential debate; only 51 million tuned in to the “Friends” finale earlier this year.

And even if it is just the case that those who already support one side are just being more vocal about it this time around, isn’t that still a positive sign for the Democrats this year? Compare to 2000: The lack of enthusiasm over Al Gore, the presence of Ralph Nader, the belief that it didn’t matter – surely all of those things depressed Democratic turnout, especially in Texas, last time around. Sure, maybe most of those Kerry/Edwards sign-planters in Alamo Heights are people who would have voted for Gore in 2000, but the question is how many of them actually did vote for Gore back then. And yes, George Bush will likely get some benefit from the same fervor, but ask yourself which group in Texas is larger: The people who would have voted for Bush in 2000 but didn’t get around to it, or the people who would have voted for Gore in 2000 but didn’t bother. Seems pretty clear to me.

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3 Responses to Yard signs in San Antonio

  1. kevin whited says:

    Kinda funny that Jews are worried about the influence of the Christian Right, since some on the Christian Right (Pat Buchanan’s crew especially) are worried about the Jewish influence on the President (they like throw about the term neocon nonsensically, as people are less likely to call Pat an anti-Semite when he uses that term). In reality, this President has almost certainly been the most pro-Israel chief executive we’ve had, although it’s not been because of the undue influence of evil neocons (sorry Pat). And he’s been so DESPITE the fact that the Jewish American vote does and will go overwhelmingly for the Dem candidate.

  2. Charles M says:


    Explain to me again how opposing the “policies” of Wolfowitz, Perle, et. al. is anti-Semitism. Or is this merely a smokescreen to place these “policies” above questioning?

    Yes, Pat Buchanan is an anti-Semite and was one long before this crew of clowns came to power. However, worrying about the Likud branch of the Republican party isn’t anti-Semitism, it’s a valid question about what is driving our foreign policy and exactly what sort of mess we’ve created in the Middle East.

    Finally, should I hate myself as I also worry about the effects of the Trotskyites Bush has surrounded himself with?

  3. skorloff says:

    now that kevin and charles are likely committed to a flamewar…

    Alamo Heights will hand Bush a medium (10 points) majority.

    Bush will still win TX with an overwhelming majority. that being said, I predict that in TX he will lose 4-6 percentage points over his totals in 2000. if i’m right, you won’t see any in-depth analysis about any home-state losses, you’ll only hear about those 3 states that are being litigated after the election.

    I also predict that Delay’s redistricting efforts will not yield the results that he was banking on – he may pick up a seat (worse case, two), but he won’t get the five he was expecting. He will face several years of court appearances and the crumbling of his political sand castle, only to be replaced by some other equally loathsome pol.

    Over the next 10 years TX will another several steps towards Alabama and Mississippi in education, employment and prosperity and will take the lead in % of population in abject poverty.

    In short, TX will change some and ultimately, change very little.

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