Political signs are decorating lawns and homes up and down the streets of Oxford, Mississippi. As in every election year, local police say vandals and thieves have targeted a few across the city.
“Unfortunately, people do that just being malicious or not compassionate about their neighbors,” Oxford Police Chief Jeff McCutchen said. “We know that this election cycle has been very heated. When you have people on opposing sides and they’re walking down the street and see something, for whatever reason they tend to do that. Luckily we’ve been fortunate here that we haven’t seen a lot of it, but it kind of heightens up during election cycles like this.”
Political signs may seem a little old-fashioned in an age of social media and mobile apps, but one political science professor at The University of Mississippi said there are a few reasons why people are still willing to post signs.
“They make the candidates feel good because they see their name all over the place, especially at the local level,” Dr. Marvin P. King, Jr. said. “It’s also a way for supporters to feel like they’re doing something.”
However, that may be all this particular form of political advertising is really good for.
“There’s very little, if any, evidence that signs in themselves make a difference in how people vote or whether or not they’re going to vote,” King said.
He also cautions against people reading too much into the number of signs they see in their neighborhoods and around town.
“It can give a false sense of support too, so that’s why they’re not really a reliable indicator of actual support,” King said.
With Election day less than a week away on Nov. 3, it’s important to note that the signs are only a temporary part of the Oxford landscape…until the next election year.
Story and video contributed by Dayna Drake, HottyToddy intern