Sunday, September 28, 2008

Two Monroe Street Library patrons finally get their Obama yard sign

Two Monroe Street Library Patrons Get Their Obama Yard Sign
We've been wondering why there have not been nearly enough Obama yard signs in Madison. The Madison Obama headquarters is right in our neighborhood, next to our branch library, and we figured it would be easy to get one. We've been trying for some time, but they never seemed to have any when we asked. Yesterday I went in and asked again. They said they had none available, because they were fulfilling requests for a huge waiting list with thousands of names on it, but that the waiting list was getting counterproductive. They would continue it through the weekend and then open their supply up to walk-ins. They said I should come back Monday. I'll be out of town Monday, so I asked T to stop by Monday. She wasn't having it. She went back to the headquarters and soon returned with a yard sign. I know she's more charming than I am, but I also suspect they just didn't want to disappoint someone who might have been (and was) a Hillary supporter.

We're happy. We finally have our yard sign, but I still wonder about the distribution. The yard signs and other paraphernalia clearly are used to help raise money. Nothing wrong with that in general. But why aren't yard signs in a class of their own? They're so inexpensive to make now that they're just a plastic baggie that slips over a wire frame, you could blanket entire neighborhoods with free signs for less than the cost of a few TV commercials. It seems it would be such a powerful means of visually communicating a groundswell of support. Just wondering...

UPDATE: OMG -- I thought our difficulty in getting a yard sign was a matter of campaign inefficiency, not policy. But, as my commenters and The Washington Post point out, it's the latter. Campaign organizers think yard signs are not effective, that the cost outweighs the benefit; that they're unnecessary because the candidates already have high name recognition by now (??!!); and that yard signs sap energy from the campaign because after people put up their sign they feel they've done all they need to do. This is absolutely nuts -- a liberal neighborhood without Obama signs suggests his supporters aren't willing to publicly stand behind their candidate. What kind of message is that? It's hard to escape the suspicion that this has more to do with campaign consultants simply prefer spending money on TV, on which they get a commission, to spending it on yard signs, on which they don't. Yikes!


JSE said...

Here's 538 on yard signs:

Executive summary: campaign organizers don't think yard signs are worth the time it takes to print and distribute them.

Anonymous said...

The Kerry campaign had the same policy. They also felt that yard sign displayers would be less likely to volunteer, having already made a token effort.

I think that's wrong-headed.

Old fart

Tom Bozzo said...

I generally agree that there's an issue of supporter morale that they may not be fully considering -- though again, consider that what they'll be doing is pretty much ensuring that a lot of Obama signs will be going up over the next five weeks. So maybe they're wrong-headed like a fox, who knows.

A related question is where are the McCain signs. On 63 miles of Bike the Barns plus 11 miles to/from the start, I saw exactly one dwelling owning up to McCain support, vs. dozens for Obama in rural Dane and Rock County. I don't kid myself that there aren't latent McCain votes out there, but given the Obama approach the enthusiasm gap seems to be huge -- which is good, since Obama will need a big margin in the 2nd CD.

froggyprager said...

I volunteered once so far at the headquarters on Monroe and they seemed a bit disorganized. I am not sure what sort of effort that we the people can do to support a candidate that will really make a difference. My wife and I made calls and I don't think it changed anyones mind or helped those undecided people decide. Most people in Madison are voting for Obama so I kind of question the value of the signs but then again you make a good point, maybe the strong show of support may increase turnout, get people excited.

workingclass said...

I went to the Monroe St. office looking to get a yard sign. I live on a rural county Hwy. and out there I see more Mcain signs.
I was told that a small yard sign would cost me $8.00, a bumper sticker was $3.00 and the large yard sign I wanted was $20.00.
I walked away empty handed. Who has an extra $20.00 right now? I cerainly don't. I was dissapointed that I could not show my support without handing over money. What happened to thier support of the little guy? I was willing to drive out of my way to get one and to display it prominently.

George H. said...

A "little" disorganized? I'm glad I'm voting for the candidate, not the organization. I received a fundraising call from the Dems in the middle of the Packer game on a Sunday night. I asked where she was calling from and when she said Minnesota, I suggested making blanket calls to Wisconsin during a Packer game was probably not very good strategy. She agreed.

The Laundress said...


Yard signs are potent, especially so for local & non-partisan elections I think (have found myself swayed to check more thoroughly on a candidate I didn't know much about, due to heavy-duty yard sign promotion).

My husband is more plugged in than me, he says the big expense on yard signs is the wire bracket -- not the pretty paper, and you should return brackets to the candidates to re-use for future elections.

Maybe that is just local folks?

Hopefully, soon Barack will be moving into the White House for 8 years and not needing those bendy wires.

A couple years ago, a nearby house went on the market and the family's teenager decided to drag all of the accumulated political yard signs out storage from their garden shed-- surrounding the realtor's big banner. It was VERY funny, several dozen candidates vying for attention plus Century 21. Wish YOU had been there to photograph it!


The Laundress said...

p.s. my high school daughter recently canvassed a rural area for Obama.

I gave her a ride to their meet-up site and was chagrined and horrified and befuddled that the other volunteers were assuming(hoping) I was also a volunteer.

Damn, but instead I snuck away to do some housework. Felt like a skunk. Have you volunteered? Do your other commentators? Guilt... Uh, bought the yard sign and offered up my first-born, that has got to count for something, eh?