Sign wars are semi-official competitions between opposing political campaigns at events and/or locations where campaign visibility is paramount to each side. During a sign war, campaign workers, both staffers and volunteers, seek to have a greater sign presence than their opposition. Sign wars may consist of tens of thousands of signs in standard sizes ranging from placards to 4'x8's and may include a wide variety of signs that have been improvised by campaigns and their volunteers.
Sign wars as a campaign tactic
Journalists frequently report on sign wars during the campaign season. Particularly for campaigns that aren't large enough to have a regular stream of polling data for the local news media to report on, journalists will use other numbers based metrics such as the number of yard signs for each candidate in the district to help gauge support for individual candidates.
Candidates and campaign staff often stoke the fires of election sign wars to claim that their candidate has popular support among the voters in the district.
Notable sign wars
A notable sign war occurs during the popular Shad Planking in Wakefield, Virginia. Every April, locals and politicians from all around the Commonwealth gather for some politicking, beer drinking, and fish eating.
Nationally, in August 2007, Democrat presidential hopefuls John Edwards and Barack Obama each claimed victory for his side in the sign war that occurred at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Probably one of the most famous sign wars occurs every presidential election year at the Jefferson Jackson dinner in Des Moines Iowa.