Monday, September 29, 2008

The public referendum on the campaign

I live in the liberal lakefront wards of a solidly Democratic city in a blue state that Barack Obama calls home. My car sports an Obama magnet. I see other Obama magnets and bumper stickers on many cars, plus Obama window signs, t-shirts, buttons, and caps, but try as I may, I've yet to spot McCain paraphernalia around town.

Until yesterday, that is. We were driving to the 'burbs to visit Brookfield Zoo. (It's much bigger than Lincoln Park Zoo, but L.P. Zoo is a short bus or bike ride away so we usually go there.) I saw a McCain bumper sticker! But the SUV had Iowa plates. My record was intact: no Illinois-based McCain supporters in evidence.

Then we drove home from the zoo, and I was astonished to find an SUV with a McCain/Palin sticker on it in my own parking lot. Four years ago, my block had but a single solitary SUV with a Bush sticker on it, far outnumbered by the Kerry/Edwards stickers and signs. I wonder if it's the same person, or if one Republican household moved out and was replaced by a new one.

At a pottery studio I passed on Lincoln Avenue, though, there were no McCain cups to offset the assortment of handpainted Obama pottery. I dunno; McCain just doesn't seem the type to inspire artistic musings.

What's the Obama vs. McCain paraphernalia balance like where you live?

11 comments:

Jay said...

On our street, the stretch I drive every day, there are two Obama yard signs, a bunch of local Repub yard signs and no McCain, athough I expect a McCain sign to sprout next door any day now. We live in a pretty blue neighborhood in a red city in a swing state. Driving around, the McCain stickers outnumber the Obama at least 2:1. In my office, the staff is overwhelmingly Democratic and I'm the only doc out of four who isn't voting for McCain.

Mignon said...

I live on Obama Island in a solidly red state. Talk about blinders - the local BO office ran out of yard signs because we Missoulians are so eager to reassure our fellow Missoulians how blue we all are, but scared to death to drive east with a BO/JB bumper sticker on our Prius. When McCain wins our state, we'll all gather at Liquid Planet downtown and shake our heads. It's not our fault - we just can't get off the island.

Charly said...

Well, being in Alaska, there's a LOT of Palin support right now. I think I've only seen one Obama yard sign, ever. Of course, I haven't seen any McCain yard signs eithr, just a lot of Palin bumper stickers. I think it's interesting that up here, the only support we're showing is for Palin, and not so much for McCain. But overall, we're a fairly solid red state. Political discussions at work are always interesting to me - more than half of my office will gladly vote Ted Stevens back in, even if he's in JAIL, simply because he brings money to our state, and therefore, jobs.

I think Alaska tends to be dismissed a lot by the rest of the country. We're thought of, both inside and Out as a different country. And in that way, even when it's for things the rest of the country doesn't understand (ie, the "Bridge to Nowhere" project), we will gladly tak whatever funding we can get, mainly because we are either not elligible or receive so little from other funding sources. Does that make it right? Well, probably not, but that's the way it is.

Personally, I would have rather taken Hilary over Obama, but he's still better than McCain any day. I like Sarah Palin. I really do. She did good things for Wasilla, and as governor, she has done well so far for our state. But really, she hasn't done much, other than be a stable, pretty face after some of our latest political scandals. While I like her, and think she's a good influence right now for Alaska, the thought of her having national power scares the hell out of me.

Rachel said...

Obama has the lead where I live in Portland, OR. I do see a bit for McCain and even a few (old) stickers for Kerry!

Fritinancy said...

I'm in a solidly Democratic city (Oakland) in a Democratic state (California). The biggest contest here is between two liberal women (one is a lesbian) for the at-large City Council seat. So, no, I haven't seen any McCain paraphernalia, although around the corner there's a van with a "Pray for Our Troops" bumper magnet.

On recent drives to Sonoma and through California's Central Valley, though, I got a very different picture--specifically, billboards with wistful fetuses and phone numbers for anti-abortion clinics.

Anonymous said...

Urbana is definitely blue (the one local Republican nails his yard signs about seven feet up on his trees). I suspect most downstate Illinoisians (the farmers that is) are Republican, but Chicago is just so big that it blues everything else up. The only problem I have with being in a blue state at this election time is that my volunteer efforts locally for Obama would be a waste. Folks around here are going to Indiana to canvass, which obviously is more of a commitment.

Jessie

Mary said...

I'm just over the WI/IL border, and last week rode in the North Shore Century bike ride; we start in Evanston, peddle up to Kenosha's velodrome going through all the rich and fancy suburbs, then back down generally along Sheridan through Waukegan and North Chicago, through Kenilworth, and finish up back in Evanston.

It is a fun ride, with a lot to see, but this year I was enormously amused at how many McCain signs I saw. They were EVERYWHERE! Admittedly, we spent a lot of time in places like Lake Forest, Highland Park, so I'm sure the rich Republicans need to show their support. (And, not to complain overmuch about rich Republicans, but the drivers in the Kenilworth area - you guys need to throttle back and stop AIMING AT BIKERS! I felt safer in North Chicago, peddling through what may have been a drug deal in progress, than I did in Kenilworth. Those people are crazy!)

I as so happy when I suddenly started seeing a bunch of Obama signs again; I knew it meant I had arrived back in Evanston. Yay Evanston! :)

Becky..AMHW said...

My town is half and half.

My three year old recognizes Barack Obama on TV though.

Anonymous said...

Springfield IL, and most of Sangamon county, looks more McCain than Obama, but I see both. I saw a "O bummer" (with the O looking like the Obama O) sticker on a car this morning and a NObama sign in a yard.
I guess most of the crowd that came to see Obama in August here were not from here...

theorize this! said...

orange, I'm in the same city as you (though a different part of it, as far as I can tell), and strangely enough my very diverse and not-yet-gentrified north-side neighborhood appears to be entirely apolitical. I -- seriously -- have yet to see any lawn signs, and no real preponderance of bumper stickers on cars, etc.

I wonder whether this is related to the fact that my neighborhood is largely composed of renters, who may be Obama supporters but don't have lawns to put their signs on?

Orange said...

theorize this, I haven't seen any lawn signs on the North Side. There are a few signs in windows, though, and maybe five Obama stickers among the cars parked on both sides of the street (i.e., the large majority of cars have no Obama signs).