Why Are Political Campaign Yard Signs Becoming Obsolete?

Fewer Political Yard Signs This Year

DALLAS -- For the first time in years, there appear to be fewer political signs planted in front lawns and on public right-of-ways as campaigns shift to other ways to reach voters and raise name identification of candidates.

"No. This is the fewest I've seen,” said Harold Clarke, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Dallas.

He theorizes that since the two presidential candidates are so unpopular in 2016, fewer people want signs to express support.

"The negativity associated with both campaigns has done a couple things: suppressed activity by voters, and secondly, made them perhaps go into hiding," Clarke said. "They don't want to say who they're for."

Christopher Novak isn't a shy voter.

"This is my first time to be politically active,” he said.

But Novak discovered, unlike years past, campaigns now sell signs for $5.

"They used to be able to give them out for free, but people were taking big stacks of them and just throwing them in the dumpster. So they started charging for them," Novak said. "So maybe there's less signs because people don't want to pay for them."

"Yard signs are really no longer one of the first two or three things you do in a campaign,” said Matt Angle from the Lone Star Project.

Angle is also a veteran of many campaigns and said political signs are no longer as valuable of a tool as they once were.

"The persuasive impact of yard signs is not emphasized as much," he said. "Now, I'm old school. I still like yard signs. I think they're important. But that's not as widely a held belief as it was a few years ago."

Facebook introduced its own type of political signs on Tuesday. Users can now go to the profile page of any candidate and endorse them. That public show of support then gets posted to your profile page.

Campaigns also have built digital files on voters and are able to target them much more directly.

Since both state and local political parties print lawn signs along with some activists, as well, there’s no clear way to measure the number of signs this year compared to others.

Still, the Dallas County Democratic Party said it sold out of two batches of Hillary Clinton signs in recent weeks and has another order for 500 expected to arrive on Friday.

The Dallas County Republican Party said it still has some Donald Trump signs available and received a donation to cover the costs of the signs, so they are free to supporters.

The age of political pins has passed and bumper stickers are practically obsolete. Lawn signs likely have a dim future, as well, experts said as campaigns use other ways to communicate about their candidate.

WFMY News 2 asked Facebook fans to share the reasons they thought fewer signs were out. Explanations ranged from fear of vandalism to it's no one's business. You can share your thoughts by commenting on this post on the WFMY News 2 Facebook page

 

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