Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Polling By Yard Sign

Admittedly, the presence or absence of yard signs is an unscientific way to measure a candidate's support. But especially when the same area is considered over time, it guages enthusiasm.

My neighborhood leans to the right.  In 2008, however, the number of Obama signs startled and alarmed me. I had never seen that many signs for a Democrat in this area.

Obama ended up polling better in our neighboring precincts than any other Democrat (on a national ticket) in the last dozen years, to my recollection. The big up-tick in yard signs pre-figured the vote tally in these precincts.

This year, I have not seen a single sign for Obama in my neighborhood. Not one. The composition of the neighborhood has not changed in four years, but support for the president has.

I made a point of driving by homes of die-hard progressives. No Obama sign. Now, it's hard to imagine some of these people voting for Romney.  It's also hard to imagine these voters staying home on Election Day.

What I think has happened is that (1) Obama's support has shrunk and (2) even among his hard-core supporters, there is a certain embarrassment to publicly support him. (And no, this has nothing to do with his race; voters didn't suddenly notice he is half-Black.)

It's possible, of course, that what I perceive as embarrassment -- for incompetence and a lousy record -- could be disappointment that he let the base down by not governing far enough to the left.  There are those progressives who continue to insist that the problem with the Stimulus is that it wasn't big enough.

The cause is less important than the effect. Whether it's from embarrassment or disappointment, there is a big drop in suburbanites willing to post an Obama sign in their yard. That cannot be a good sign for the president.

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