Monday, September 29, 2008

On the Road

Spend a weekend on your college campus, act 18 again. It happens every time. I'm still recuperating. The main way I felt 18 again was being completely cut off from the rest of the world for over 48 hours: no internet, no TV, no newspapers. I didn't see the debate, nor hear any of the incessant recaps of it. Paul Newman died? What do you know. The Northeast was drenched? Huh. It's hard, now, to believe I spent four years living in such a bubble.

An interesting offshoot of my trip was that I drove smack through the middle of Virginia, the last leg on back roads filled with campaign signs. I'm not sure what yard signs tell you, not sure how effective an indicator they are as to what will happen in November. However, the placement of a yard sign does indicate effort and dedication on the part of the person who placed the sign, and in that sense display the sentiments of at least one voter.

Rural Central Virginia must trend Republican these days. However, I feel comfortable predicting that Mark Warner will win his Senate race. Based on yard signs, the guy doesn't even have an opponent. Warner signs proliferated, yet I didn't see a single indication that there is a Republican nominee running against him. Some properties even featured both McCain and Warner signs, which was to me the real indicator that this particular race is over.

Based on signage, the Presidential race is harder to call. Crossing the Blue Ridge Mountains on Routes 151 and 6, through Afton, Rockfish Gap, and Nelson County, McCain/Palin definitely dominated. On the other hand, it would appear that the Obama campaign lacks an office in this part of the state, because I passed a number of hand-made Obama signs. Yes, hand-made, a true indicator of dedication. One sign, ok, but on the trip back I counted: 15 such signs on a 35-mile stretch of road.

Once I got to Route 29, a major north/south state highway, Obama took the lead in signage. McCain still had supporters, but the majority of yards sported signs promoting the entire Democratic ticket for that part of the state: Obama, Warner, and the Congressional candidate whose last name begins with a "P" (sorry, I was driving, I couldn't write it down).

Conclusions? It could be that the Obama campaign is correct in believing that Virginia is in play. It could also be that, in the end, yard signs along state highways only mean that a couple of crazy partisans went driving around in a pick-up one night, drinking beer and illegally posting. My main conclusion is that this remains perhaps the most interesting Presidential race in recent memory. And that it's a bad idea for an early middle-aged woman to party like an 18 year-old.


tunsie said...

as u see in local politics signs do not win elections.votes do.the next president will inherit alot of problems,ALOT,it will take awhile 2 get out of this mess.I 4 one won't take the job.does blazing saddles ring a bell?our children r at war in 2 countries and r about 2 die in droves.we r spreading our defences 2 thin.we r not a producer anymore.we r consumers.when the producer names the tune,the consumer has 2 sing.but we r not concerned with what is happening around us.we can't see beyound our own misconceptions.delusions problems,and mental shortcomings.g-d help us.tunsie.tunsie.tunsie

J. SPIKE ROGAN said...

Ron Paul had more signs in eastern PA than McLame. He did well... for Ron Paul. He still lost.