General Question

jlm11f's avatar

Why do people put politically related bumper stickers on their car?

Asked by jlm11f (12332 points ) July 10th, 2008

Vote Obama. Ok, I agree with this, but if a McCain supporter is driving behind you, do you really think your sticker will make him/her have an epiphany and think “By God. I see where I am wrong, Obama it is!” Is the sticker more about putting a bit of who you are and your beliefs “out there”? Why does that matter on the road? Could it lead to subconscious road rage between people supporting different candidates?

Disclaimer – I am not trying to tell you to take off the bumper stickers from your car. I am just curious as to why people put the politically related ones on their car. The reason I ask this Q is because my friend just gave me a Obama bumper sticker and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put it on my car. I am not ashamed of my views, but I do like MY car sticker free.

PS – please DO NOT use this thread to fight about politics or the candidates.
PPS – Moveon is giving away free Obama bumper stickers for anyone who wants it.

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37 Answers

syz's avatar

I don’t put anything time related on my car (how many out of date stickers for some embarrassing via hindsight decision have you seen?). Although I will admit to a non-specific “Someone less dumb for president” sticker in my window.

I don’t think having political stickers is related to changing someone’s mind. I think it’s more of a membership in a club sort of thing.

lefteh's avatar

For me, it’s about self-expression and furthering the causes. My car has two stickers on it: a Human Rights Campaign equality sign, and an Obama for President sign.
It’s no different than yard signs. Visibility is an important part of the political process.
As far as the HRC sticker goes, every instance of that symbol appearing is one step closer to educating the world about discrimination based on sexual orientation. People ask me “Hey, what’s that sticker mean?” and I get to jump on my soapbox.

jlm11f's avatar

@ syz – “membership in a club”. haha i like that idea. kind of like how bmw owners honk at each other on the road. people supporting the same candidates can do the same to show their respect. and i do like the bumper sticker you have on your window. i always like reading the funny ones.

jrpowell's avatar

I have a Apple sticker on my skateboard. I don’t think I would ever put a political bumper sticker on anything outside of my house. And I got a couple sweet Obama stickers in the mail yesterday too.

xxporkxsodaxx's avatar

For my mother, it is a tribute to her mom. My mom never liked McCain, but when my gandmother passed she bought one and put it on the back of her car for her.

Les's avatar

I never thought I would be one of those people who would advertise her candidate. But, recently, I purchased an Obama car magnet ( so I could remove it when this is all over). For me, it is not so much to change people’s minds, as it is a non verbal way of telling people “Yes, I am voting for Obama”. I have a lot of pride in this person, and I want to show support for him. I know that no one will change their vote because of my bumper sticker, but it makes me feel good to know that for once, I am not embarrassed by the people I have to vote for. Similarly, I have a Darwin fish on my car. I don’t expect some devout Christian to see it and say “Wow. Have I been barking up the wrong tree.” I put it there because I like it.
You don’t buy a red car because you want other people to buy red cars. You buy it because you like it.

SquirrelEStuff's avatar

In this media driven campaign, I did it to try and get my candidate out there. As far as obama and mccain go, I don’t see a point, the media tells everyone what to think about them.
I do have a Benjamin Franklin quote,“there never was a good war or a bad peace.” I like that quote, saw the sticker while on vacation

lefteh's avatar

You sound like a Ron Paul supporter.

susanc's avatar

I didn’t put my Obama sticker on until Hillary conceded.

I’d have backed her if she’d been the candidate.

The only other sticker on my car says “Buy Art”.

syz's avatar

My favorite bumper sticke said “Oh, evolve” and then my adult cousin asked me what “oh ev-o-lee” meant and I was so sad, I had to take it off.

jlm11f's avatar

@ Les – I love your answer! Very well phrased and I like the explanation. Thank you!

@ lefteh – i like the HRC sticker. If I didn’t have issues putting any kind of thing on my car, I could see myself putting that sticker.

Thanks to everyone who has answered so far :)

marinelife's avatar

This is a great question, PnL!!! I give your lurve. I don’t usually put bumper stickers on my car. I have seen cars literally papered in them. I just don’t feel the need to advertise my beliefs in that way. I do have one. My bumper sticker says:

“My dog is smarter than your honor student.”

@Les Would barking Christians be speaking in tongues? (mine in cheek)

@syz I guess your cousin hadn’t. That would make me sad too.

@Lefteh If I did have one about my beliefs, the HRC one would be a good one. Are you serious? Chris6137 supports Ron Paul? All this time and I never knew. He’s so low-key about it.

Les's avatar

@PnL: Thanks, and great question for you!
@marina: That is too funny. I suppose they would. Maybe some ancient Aramaic in there.

nikipedia's avatar

You might be influencing other people‘s decisions just by advertising your support of a given position, candidate, band, point of view, whatever. People tend to like things that are already popular.

Vincentt's avatar

For the same reason some people are (overly-)fanatic Apple supporters: people think their opinion is superior, and thus them having that opinion makes them superior, and thus they want to show that that’s their opinion. I catch myself doing this way too frequently.

susanc's avatar

I do think that people are less likely to feel scared about
taking a stand when they see that lots of other people have taken it. So a sticker that says “Obama” is useful. What would be unuseful would probably be the ones we really love: for example, George Bush Is A Lying Sack of Shit. I keep this particular bumper sticker in my dining room.

lefteh's avatar

@PnL: If you have a phobia of putting things on your car, may I suggest what I did with my Obama sticker?
I took a bit of disappearing tape and taped it to the inside of my rear window. Once Obama takes care of business in November, there will be no reason for that to be on my car, so I’ll stick it on a shelf until 2012. The HRC sticker, however, is affixed to my car directly because it’s something that’s going to stay. Perhaps you could tape a sticker to your rear window if you want to express your feelings without doing anything too permanent to your car?

tinyfaery's avatar

I think it was Mitch Hedberg who said that he appreciates bumper stickers. He knows he can automatically say to a person “hey, let’s never hang out”. Of course when he said it was funny. If indeed it was him.

flameboi's avatar

I think political views must be private (no one wants to hurt somebody you deeply love, for example), I love stickers, I keep them in a note book, even the “I love Salvatore” one :) but there are things that are meant to be for you and you alone.

shrubbery's avatar

Hey tinyfaery, I think it was Demetri Martin who said that, unless he stole it…
There’s a fair chance you’ll get your car keyed here if you put a private school sticker on it, I dunno about political ones though.

lefteh's avatar

Political views are meant for you and you alone?
Really?
The United States is built on political discourse, debate, discussion, and…er…I’m out of synonyms.
The point is that people talk to each other and develop their opinions. People can come together with their very different outlooks on the same situation, and create a compromise that works for everybody. That’s the underlying concept that makes this country so great.

Now, I’m going to go eat some apple pie and play baseball.

Knotmyday's avatar

In my wicked, wicked youth, I purchased a bumper sticker that stated (boldly, Hobo font) “Bad cop! No Donut!” It was very popular; every time I was pulled over the policeman mentioned how much he enjoyed my excellent taste in opinionated auto-accessory.

Megan64's avatar

I had both a Kerry and a Gore bumpersticker. One day, (after the most recent presidential election) a co-worker who followed me into the parking lot, told me never to put his name on my car if he was running for office. Now I think I’m a jinx so I won’t put one on for Obama.

I lived in a very conservative area, and I put the stickers on to let other liberals know they weren’t alone. I got three speeding tickets within the 5 years I lived there, and I hadn’t gotten a single ticket in the 15 years prior to my moving. I could be paranoid, but I think the bumper stickers and tickets were related…

jacksonRice's avatar

it’s kind of cool to have old political stickers on a car. i don’t mean from last year, but… well, my dad has a couple of old matchboxes that say Impeach Nixon on them, & i think that’s cool. if i had a shirt that said that i would wear it. in twenty years a sticker that says “Obama 2008” will be cool because it will be a reminder of a time before we knew who would get elected.

ninjaxmarc's avatar

I do it for advertising.

jlm11f's avatar

@lefteh – i like the idea about the dissapearing tape and rear window. i might end up doing that. thanks :)

and thank you to everyone for participating in this thread!

Poser's avatar

When I bought my first car, I promised I’d never douche it up with a bunch of stickers. I’m currently sporting a sticker for my candidate—a man many people had never heard of at the time I put the sticker on. I put it on to raise awareness for the first politician I’ve ever been impressed enough with to vote for. I put it on the window because it’s easy to take off.

chrisleclair's avatar

I moved to a place out in the middle of no where and I don’t know anyone. I love bumperstickers because it helps me find “my people”. When I see a car loaded with messages that support my own views I think “Ah ha, there is another of “my people”.” I admire people who display their ideals (and humor). In the past I’d always thought about putting bumperstickers on my car, but hesistated due to damage and resale value. My Obama sticker is the first in my life. My car is getting keyed. People who key cars because they don’t like your message are no better than those in government taking away our freedom of speech rights. It’s ridiculous and immature.

Vincentt's avatar

@chrisleclair – you meet up with people that have bumperstickers?

I wonder what’d happen if you put both a McCain and Obama sticker on your car. I suppose it’ll get keyed by supporters of one of the other parties… :P

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

It’s a way of spreading news. A personal, and highly effective way, actually. You can listen all you want to the media, read the polls, digest information that has been processed and packaged – or you can just look around.

I had an Obama magnet on my car (not as messy as a sticker). So did a lot of other people around here. They had signs on their front lawns, too. What’s the significance? “Around here” is Republican territory. Seeing the sheer numbers of those things during the election season did more to convince me that Obama was going to win than all of the news reports I heard. It was evidence of change that I could see in the community around me. It was an indication of how people really felt about the guy, which is something that doesn’t come through in a poll.

I took it off after the inauguration. No sense gloating. Well, not gloating too much.

campbill's avatar

The other night I saw a person pulled over with their hood open by the side of the road. I started to slow down so that I could pull over and see if they needed help. That was when I noticed the Obama sticker on their bumper.

I just kept driving.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@campbill , good for you. You uphold the values of the Republican Party well.

lefteh's avatar

@campbill You truly exemplify the traditional values that your party holds so dear. ~

campbill's avatar

I’m not a republican, I am a libertarian.

My point was, If you are going to put these stickers on your car, you may have to live with unexpected consequences.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@campbill , that explains it. If somebody had a Ron Paul bumper sticker on his car, I would not stop for him, either.

ThePurpleKnight's avatar

It’s probably for the same reason you put yard signs up each year. It’s not actually about changing people’s minds, that’s nigh impossible to achieve. But I read an article somewhere on victorystore.com that talked about how it was all about getting the candidates name out there and showing support for them so that the undecideds would pick them.

austinclarke13's avatar

I think put politically related bumper stickers on the car makes people in position to read the bumper sticker. Most of the drivers are strangers so if want to give any type message we can easily give it in this way.but if bumper sticker is from a vacation site,means it meant for advertising then it is good way of advertie your product. And if meant for political ads then that bumper sticker won’t influence my vote….....reading about the candidate’s background and experience will influence us, positively or negatively. Reading about what the candidate stands for, what he/she wants to do and how they plan to do it will influence me. But a bumper sticker – or a yard sign? No way.can easily express by these bumper stickers.

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