Archive for Thursday, November 2, 2006

Newly introduced sign penalty costs O’Hara nod in yard-art forecast

November 2, 2006

In recent years, I've received comment on the yard-art polls I write before elections. It's always from politicians.
I view their interest driven by the same instinct that had Roman generals looking at chicken entrails before battles and kept phony West Indies soothsayers on late-night TV -- they want desperately to see how the campaign that so consumes them will end. Or maybe it's just appreciation that someone is paying attention to all their time and effort.
The rules are I assign values to the placement of political signs and type. Scoring highest is any homemade sign with the assumption that anyone going to that much trouble will vote for the candidate of his or her obsession and swing a few other voters, too.
Mass-produced signs placed in yards count for more than those despoiling public rights of way. Those in corner lots score even more, and those in the yards of town notables collect an even bigger bonus.
I've added a new penalty this time around. Those signs in jurisdictions in which the candidate is not running cost that person points. They point to overzealous volunteers of like-minded candidates, whose enthusiasm outruns knowledge.

The De Soto USD 232 bond issue
It is my less than shocking prediction, it won't carry in De Soto. The question is how will it do in Shawnee. I last drove western Shawnee two weeks ago, before the pro-bond group busted out its signs. (Those signs look the same as those from four years ago. I salute the cost-savings foresight but wonder who got stuck with storing them in the garage for the last four years.)
The race is too close to call.

Kline vs. Morrison
Attorney General Phill Kline took a big early lead in the sign race. And much like in the polls, Johnson County District Attorney Paul Morrison has been making late gains. Enough Republican households are displaying Morrison for me to give the challenger the nod in a close race.

Surbaugh vs. O'Hara
Charlotte O'Hara takes a 15-yard out of jurisdiction penalty for the blatant placement of signs in the right-of-way in front of The Eudora News.
I can understand some confusion with Kansas House districts because people don't identify themselves with what district they live on. But placing a sign in the wrong county?
O'Hara leads in sign placement but too many are in easements. The 15-yard penalty swings the race to incumbent Annabeth Surbaugh.

Brown vs. Bryant
Incumbent Republican Anthony Brown took a big early lead in the 38th Kansas House race. Diane Bryant has come back hard, but Brown looks too strong.

Moore vs. Ahner
Dennis Moore is holding his own against an energetic signage campaign by novice candidate Chuck Ahner. It's a good effort but the wrong year. Moore wins easily.

Sebelius vs. Barnett
For the top-of-the-ticket race, this year's gubernatorial contest sure hasn't filled many yards or ditches. Jim Barnett has the sign advantage, especially in easements. I've not seen any signs for incumbent Kathleen Sebelius.
Not with all the TV spots the governor has run the past two months.
But still the sign campaign just isn't there. No advantage.

Boyda vs. Ryun
Bonus coverage for a race not contested in De Soto. It's the easiest race to call with Democrat Nancy Boyda winnings the 2nd Congressional seat easily. Her signs have been everywhere in Baldwin and Lawrence for two months with incumbent Jim Ryun just starting to appear in the last few weeks, and sparsely at that. I have driven the district west to Manhattan, and while Boyda signs aren't as ubiquitous as they are in Douglas County, they are noticeable. After dismissing earlier Boyda claims the race was close, Ryun now admits it is and may get a last-minute visit from the president to help his cause. The signs point to an upset.

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