Political Behavior

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 189–213 | Cite as

The Displaying of Yard Signs as a Form of Political Participation

  • Todd MakseEmail author
  • Anand E. Sokhey
Original Paper


Despite the ubiquity of yard signs, little is known about how and why individuals display them. Using two original studies of the 2008 presidential race, along with American National Election Study data, we address three points pertaining to this understudied form of political participation. First, what are the correlates of the individuals and households that display signs? Second, what motivates such displays, and to what extent do those motives reflect expressive and communicative desires? Finally, how do individuals obtain signs, and do individuals—rather than parties or candidates—play a role in spreading signs throughout neighborhoods? Our findings suggest that the dissemination of yard signs is not merely a top–down process driven by campaign professionals, but a genuine participatory act that is fueled by individual initiative and social networking.


Political participation Presidential elections Campaigns Yard signs Motivations Neighborhoods Social networks 



The authors thank André Blais, Brian Schaffner, Jenny Wolak and three anonymous reviewers for helpful comments. The project was supported by a Harvey Walker Senior Research Grant from the Ohio State Department of Political Science, and by the Ohio State Survey Research Program. The authors’ names are listed alphabetically; they declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Susquehanna UniversitySelinsgroveUSA
  2. 2.The University of Colorado at BoulderBoulderUSA

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