Yard signs don't look good for Obama
Driving down Hwy 21 for an Ozark weekend recently, a friend and I began counting yard signs. Anyone who knows anything about Missouri politics knows that Jefferson County, which is immediately south of St. Louis County, is purely Democratic. Jay Nixon has roots in the area, and the local pols are all of the donkey persuasion.
It thus occurred to us that if the yard signs were playing true to type, that is, if the yard signs were all Obama, then he is in good shape. A big Obama yard sign advantage would eliminate concern that the rank-and-file Democrats are uncomfortable with a guy who is pretty close to a socialist.
Maybe we missed a few, but we counted eight yard signs for McCain and five for Obama. Significantly, many yards that had down-ticket Democratic signs, big red white and blue letters for Jay Nixon, Robin Carnahan, etc., had nothing for Obama.
The pollsters say Obama is ahead. And as we have all read, given a GOP divided between the pro-lifer types and fiscal conservative types, an unpopular war, a crashing economy and a weak sitting GOP president, Obama should win this election.
But if he is to win, he needs the rank-and-file out-state Democrats. Imagine that the candidates split the urban and suburban votes. Then places like Jefferson County hold the swing votes in their hands. And the yard signs show weakness in Jefferson County.
As we drove along and the McCain yard sign lead crept up, we began to speculate. Would a “regular guy” Democrat who was not ready to vote for an extreme left winger like Obama be willing to show that to his Democratic neighbors? Probably not. Instead he would put up his signs for Nixon and Carnahan, and, if asked, say he forgot the sign for the top of the ticket. Even though a Jefferson County Democrat may not be able to bring himself to vote for McCain, he also may not be able to bring himself to vote for Obama.
Let us consider the voters of western Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. These people are Democrats by nature. They don’t trust the GOP. Their parents and grandparents, back to FDR, have voted with the donkey.
But they hear Obama’s promises of “share the wealth,” and they wonder. They hear appeals to class envy, and they wonder. They have kids, and while they know their own particular kid is not likely to become a millionaire, they know that some kids will become millionaires, and they want their kid to have a shot.
It seems to me that the urban vote involves two separate issues.
The first issue is whether all the ACORN registrations are intentionally fraudulent and whether thousands of people are part of a vast left-wing conspiracy to cast several votes per person for Obama. I have my doubts. A giant conspiracy involving 1,000s of people voting more than one time would be ripe for exposure and would be very difficult to organize. I imagine ACORN hired low-lifes to drum up voter registration cards and the low-lifer went to McDonalds and filled out cards from the phone book.
The second issue is whether legitimate new registrants are going to show up on election day. Again, I have my doubts. Voting is a hassle. Most states, particularly Missouri, have several initiatives on the ballot. At least in our state, “straight ticket” voting is over. The lines are going to be long.
Will people who are not in the habit of voting, who are not used to finding their polling place and waiting in line, and who are historically not involved politically really going to show up in overwhelming numbers? I don’t think so.
One radio show had a hilarious parody of silly college kids forgetting to vote. They sleep late. They nap through class. They text their friends. They order pizza. They are big for Obama, but oops, the polls are closed and it is too late.
McCain will need some breaks. A cold and rainy day will help. A gaffe or two by Mr. Smooth will help. An avoidance of gaffes by Ms. Sarah (the latest draftee to my fantasy girlfriend team) will help.
McCain may yet stun the left. If he does, it will be wonderful to look at their faces the next day.
Bevis Schock is an attorney in private practice in Clayton. To reach him, contact Beacon features and commentary editor Donna Korando.