Election Lawn Signs. Do they make a difference?
In a word. Yes.
There remains a place in political campaigning for the humble lawn sign notwithstanding (there’s that word again) the unrelenting rise of social media.
In municipal elections where there is no polling, the lawn sign stands as a proxy of the support for the various candidates. Of course it is very rough and ready. It is difficult to draw any meaningful conclusions where there are lots of candidates with a roughly equal number of signs. But where one candidate is way out in front that’s usually a sign of something.
Parts of Ward 4 (where I live) have been carpet-bombed by Tom Vegh who is running for the Regional Councillor vacancy. I spoke to people with Vegh signs on their lawns because I was intrigued to find out more about his persuasive approach. He asked for permission (of course) and pledged to take it away after the election or before if the residents changed their minds. By all accounts, he was very personable. The results are there for all to see.
Similarly, Bob Kwapis, the “Jewel of the Council”, is running again in Ward 5 after his convincing by-election victory in 2016. He has been a very busy little bee with his signs appearing everywhere, like a rash. Bob smiles a lot and people like that, overlooking the fact that he jettisons his campaign pledges as soon as they become unwanted baggage.
The Mayoral wannabee, Joe Wamback, so far as I can tell, has not put up a single lawn sign. He is always telling us he is not a politician and may be this is his way of demonstrating the fact. If he runs a campaign with no signs, he is doomed.
I emailed Joe on Monday to ask when I could expect to see his signs going up but, so far, I haven’t heard from him. He is probably a one-man-band with no network of supporters to fall back on.
The odds-on favourite for Mayor is John Taylor whose support is deep and widespread. He says experience matters and, personally, I think that makes a difference of sorts. I wandered along to his campaign kick-off at the Legion in Srigley Street a few weeks ago and the place was packed. And although I have my policy differences with him he can be very effective when he decides to get off the fence and stake out a position. When Taylor finally spoke out against the Clock Tower he took lots of councillors with him, leaving the Mayor, the hapless Tony Van Trappist, the sole voice supporting the development, twisting in the wind and isolated.
Big and bold but fewer signs than expected
I also invited myself along to Chris Emanuel’s campaign launch and, again, there was a cast of thousands. His supporters congregated to celebrate his big, bold and positive ideas.
Maybe they can help him put up a few more lawn signs.
I don’t know if Tom Vegh had a campaign launch party but he has more than made up for it with his impressive street-by-street canvassing.
This is a side of Tom that is new to me, reinventing himself as a silver-tongued tribune of the people.
His lawn sign tells me it is leadership you can count on.