Political Yard Signs Tell More Than a Candidate's Name

Political signs on private residential property are unlikely to sway undecided voters, but they do say something about the owners' personal values.  Lawn maintenance and general property upkeep also reflect one's values.

After casually surveying my neighborhood during my daily jogging jaunts, I noticed a pattern:  Unkempt lawns have more signs supporting Democrat candidates, whereas neat properties proudly sport signs favoring Republican candidates. 

I work for a state agency on the left coast, and many cars in the parking lot are splattered with offensive decals.  Even though the agency touts diversity as its strongest asset, these metallic malcontents -- and I presume their owners -- aren't onboard.  They have succumbed to a mind-numbing acquiescence to liberal orthodoxy and groupthink.

Almost all voted for "hope and change," some insist we "Fight the Man," and a couple pledge allegiance to radical outfit Code Pink. Most exhort "Forward," but incongruously spew backward looking slogans denigrating President Bush.

After running the gauntlet of these seething, firebrand motors every day, Bub -- that's my car -- and I are grateful for the serenity of our quiet neighborhood.  Then, my neighbor put up a sign...

My relief was palpable when I got close enough to read it.  After suffering the taunts of an interloper from confrontational signs at the metallic cauldron at work, we can happily coexist.  I won't have to struggle to restrain Bub from, umm, accidentally veering over his front lawn.  But it did pique my interest: Political signs were now on my radar at home and work; during my daily jogs I started paying attention.  

Honestly, I'm no interfering busybody, and as long as my street is not a dumping ground, and is free of all-night workshops and drug houses, I'm generally content.  But, like most, I do appreciate a well-manicured lawn, and I was starting to notice a pattern:  most political signs on well maintained properties were for Republican candidates. These signs stand tall and proud, resplendently reflecting the owners' self-respect, diligence, and appreciation for property values. 

Then there are the other signs; raggedy and slumping in gravelly, fallow ground.  After reading the local voters' brochure, I confirmed these signs represent candidates who'd rather limit work requirements for welfare and generally prefer that government "spread wealth around."  With emphasis on handouts rather than self-reliance, these signs, and their hosts, have fallen into disrepair. 

During my local jogging excursions I discovered that counting helped take my mind of the pain.  Twenty three private properties had erected political signs: 16 for Republican candidates; 7 for Democrats. Of the 16 Republican signs, 15 graced meticulous lawns; the other one suggested the owners were on a lengthy vacation.

Of the 7 Democrat signs, 2 were on nice gardens, the other 5 were on properties in various stages of disrepair. One was actually hard to spot, being engulfed in gigantic dandelions; another was strewn, placard separated from stand, almost as if Bub had sneaked off on a raid without me; another barely stood out in the jungle, suggesting the residents don't value their property nor respect their neighbors.

I'm no highfalutin researcher, but I'm guessing those numbers are statistically significant:  there is a high correlation between a private property's appearance and the types of political signs placed therein.  Well maintained properties generally sport political signs supporting Republican candidates; conversely, scruffy properties are more likely to display Democrat signs.

That's the empirical evidence in my neighborhood, and I see no reason it can't be extrapolated.  Actually, given our neighborhood's enthusiastic "beautification" project, the numbers in areas without an activist homeowners association may indicate starker contrasts.  

Perhaps my neighborhood has more retirees with time for gardening; perhaps the untidy properties are rented.  But this begs the questions:  why are there such high correlations between Republican signs and nice lawns, Democrat signs and shabby lawns?

It goes back to the local voters' pamphlet.  Simply put, Democrats generally support spreading wealth under government auspices; they prefer government rather than free markets choose winners and losers.  Perhaps their intentions are noble; nevertheless, over-reliance on government largesse tends to deflate self-confidence and diminishes motivation.  Moreover, a big government-centric philosophy can infuse welfare recipients with docility.  Why work hard if government's permanently got your back? 

In short, their innate talents are sold short by the nanny state; they're even conditioned towards complacency. Perhaps one day the street sweeper will suddenly jump out and run a mower over their lawn, or a stodgy bureaucrat will send over the new dandelion buster.

Republicans adhere to the "teach them how to fish" proverb.  Most are empathetic and favor temporary support for struggling citizens, giving them time to pull their socks up. They espouse equality of opportunity, while recognizing equality of outcomes is a folly that contradicts human individuality; indeed, human nature.  They believe the greater compassion is in rewarding hard work and success by letting free markets facilitate the spreading of wealth, thereby creating more of it for everyone.   

My informal survey of private political signs in my neighborhood suggests Republicans are more likely to toil and till their lawns. They maintain their properties as diligently as they built or maintain their businesses, in effect, "spreading the wealth around" efficiently, as passers-by also enjoy the aesthetic rewards.

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