Yard Signs Don't Matter

The entrenched feel of the signs also made me wonder what, exactly, they're supposed to accomplish. Seriously. In the course of political history -- especially in state-wide or national elections, when the candidates' names are generally well-known -- has seeing a yard sign ever changed a single voter's opinion?

"No," answered Kevin Frank, communications director of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, without even a moment's hesitation.

Perhaps, I prompted, back in the day ...? Maybe before television or other media?

"I'm not sure the day ever existed where [yard signs] made a difference for a candidate," he replied. "There's a very common saying among political operatives: 'Lawn Signs Don't Vote.' A lot of signs might be a sign that a candidate is doing well, but they're not doing well because of those signs."

Tim Buckley, communications director of the Massachusetts Republican Party, was even more blunt. "At some point, all those signs become really more of a burden, because you're beset by people demanding more signs at certain intersections, or in their neighborhood. And the candidates want to see their signs out there, as well, so you have to produce boatloads of them, and you can't keep up with the demand. Even though they don't seem to make a difference."

He sighed. "In fact," he added, "I would love to see a study that says point-blank that they're ineffective, because that would make campaign workers' lives so much easier."
That ought to be the first thing anyone ever says to a small-town candidate or a novice politician--yard signs do not matter. Period. End of story.