The Truth About Campaign Signs

Biden campaign signs

Mark Makela/Contributor/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

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Biden campaign signs
Mark Makela/Contributor/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

I Saw the Sign

The run-up to a presidential election typically produces a flurry of news and headlines about campaign yard sign drama, and this election cycle has been no different. There's been all manner of stories about candidate yard signs being stolen, about neighborhoods maintaining civility despite dueling yard signs, and even about husbands and wives drawing battle lines on political yard signs. In October a man in Dalton, Massachusetts, burned down 19 hay bales with "Vote USA Biden-Harris 2020" painted on them, and a city worker in Commerce Township, Michigan, needed treatment for gashed fingers when he was ordered to remove an illegally placed "Trump 2020 Promises Made Promises Kept" sign and discovered it had been rigged with razor blades

On Saturday, sign controversies became deadly: Three boys aged 15, 16, and 17 were shot in Topeka, Kansas — one with injuries considered potentially life-threatening — by a man who told police he suspected they’d been stealing his Trump yard signs. 

Still, a survey from YouGov suggests most headlines about political signs are overblown.

Trump/Pence sticker
J.D. Pooley/Stringer/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Not Many of Us Have Signs or Stickers

The Oct. 14 survey of more than 8,000 adults asked if participants displayed public support for a presidential candidate during this election cycle with a yard sign, window sign, or bumper sticker. The overwhelming answer – at 68% – was no. A mere 27% of respondents said yes and the remaining 5% responded "don't know."

Related: Tricky Tactics That Could Cost You Your Vote

2020 campaign sign
Scott Olson/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Southerners Have the Fewest

There are some notable variations by region as well. The majority (30%) of Americans with signs or stickers are in the Northeast. Cue the eyes rolling through the rest of America for the intellectual elites of the Northeast? The second most politically active region gauged by political swag is the Midwest, but it's just one percentage point behind (29%), followed by the West (25%). The South comes in last (24%).

Trump/Pence campaign sign
Scott Olson/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Men Advertise Their Leanings More

The survey reveals that men are less shy about their political leanings — 30% have displayed their presidential preference with a sign or sticker, but only 23% of women.

Republican sign
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More Republicans, Too

Broken down by political party, Republicans are more willing to decorate their lawns, houses, or cars with presidential promotions (35%, compared with 30% of Democrats). Independents are even less likely to put up signs — only 19% have this season.

Related: Best and Worst Impacts of Trump's First Term on Seniors

young man with biden mask and vote sticker
Mark Makela/Contributor/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Age Doesn't Matter

Those of you who think politics is reserved for baby boomers or retirees, think again. Age distribution for showing posters and stickers is practically equal: 26% of 18- to 24-year-olds; 28% of 25- to 34-year-olds; and 26% for the three remaining age ranges of 35- to 44-year-olds, 45- to 54-year-olds, and those 55-plus.

Related: How Biden Winning the Presidency Could Affect Seniors

Biden/Harris sign
Scott Olson/Staff/Getty Images News/Getty Images North America

Paycheck Size Isn't a Big Factor Either

Income also has little bearing. The survey found that the largest group of people displaying signs and stickers (28%) have an annual income of $80,000 or more. But nearly right behind that group (at 25%) are those earning $40,000 to $80,000 a year. Just a few points behind that (22%) are Americans who earn $40,000 or less.

For most Americans, displaying a presidential preference seems to be of little interest.

Related: The Big Issue That Worries Voters Now But Didn't in 2016