Between 1957 and 1977, at least eight polls found 70% or more of respondents to be anti-billboard. In the 1990s, people in Florida, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Texas, Michigan, and Missouri all agreed that billboards are litter on a stick. In fact, virtually every credible poll that’s been done reveals one fact: Americans do not like billboards.
Poll Shows Reno Voters are Opposed to Digital Billboards
An April 2011 telephone poll showed that the majority of Reno voters are opposed to allowing digital billboards there. Reno voters went to the polls in 2000 and voted to ban construction of new billboards in the city.
“It’s interesting that so many people today feel the same way as those who voted 11 years ago to prohibit new construction of billboards,” said James Barnes, a local attorney and Scenic Nevada Board Chairman. “The vote in 2000 was 57% in favor of banning new billboard construction,” he added, “and, of course, digital billboards would be new construction.”
“It is clear to conclude from this survey that a majority of voters oppose changes that would allow digital billboards,” said the report.
Texas Poll Shows Residents Think There Are Too Many Billboards
A 2007 poll of Texas voters by Baselice & Associates found that 86% thought there were too many or enough billboards already in the state.
More than 70% of North Carolinians say billboards detract from community appearance
A 2011 poll released by the N.C. League of Conservation Voters found that 70 percent of Democratic voters, 68 percent of Republican voters and 78 percent of Independent voters said billboards detracted from community appearance.
Survey Shows Arizonans Disapprove of Digital Billboards
This 2005 survey of Arizona residents showed they overwhelmingly disapproved of allowing digital billboards in that state.
Billboards Degrade Scenic Beauty, Communities
Where do people want to live, work, and visit? Places of great natural beauty and distinctive community character. And most people agree billboards degrade natural beauty and community character.
- By a 10 to 1 margin, Floridians prefer reducing the number of billboards over further increases.
- 64% of the citizens in New Hampshire oppose to billboard advertising on highways, with 53% of total respondents strongly opposing billboards.
- 62% of Rhode Islanders state that billboards make state roads less attractive, as opposed to 31% who simply felt it made no difference.
- 96% of Houstonians believe it important to make major improvements in beautification of the city, and
- 79% of Houstonians support maintaining or strengthening the city’s ordinance removing ALL billboards by 2013.
- 69% of Missourians believe that fewer billboards would make their state more attractive to tourists, while just 26% disagreed.
We Need Fewer Billboards, Not More
Public patience with new billboard construction is wearing thin across the country. In fact, although the number of billboards along our roads increases by thousands annually, most Americans believe we already have either too many billboards or the right number. Almost no one supports the rapid rate of billboard growth we’re currently experiencing.
- Michigan residents favor a ban on new billboard construction by a 60%-32% margin; moreover, more than 90% of Michigan residents believe the state has too many billboards or the right amount of billboards (versus just 2% who want more).
- The Rhode Island public opinion survey discovered two-to-one support for a ban on new billboards.
- 81% of residents of Houston, TX, favor their existing ordinance banning new billboard construction.
- New Hampshire residents favor a ban on new billboards by a 56% to 29% margin.
- In Missouri, the margin of opposition to new billboard construction is 78% to 15%.
Tree-Cutting for Billboard Visibility Outrages Americans
There are many things taxpayers are willing to pay for. Cutting trees along public rights-of-way to improve billboard visibility is not one of these things.
- A 1994 survey of Missouri found that a whopping 80% oppose the state law allowing the cutting of trees on public rights-of-way in front of billboards.
- 80% oppose tree cutting to improve visibility of existing billboards in New Hampshire.
- 75% of Floridians oppose tree cutting to allow billboards to be seen. Michigan residents oppose tree cutting by a 63%-33% margin.
Americans Get Very Little Information From Billboards
Though billboard operators like to portray billboards as providing essential information, in fact, most people get little or no useful information from billboards. 72% of those surveyed in a Rhode Island study responded that they received either very little or no useful information about products and services from billboards.
In Florida, the margin of those who derived more information from official information (LOGO) signs more than billboards for useful information about restaurants, gas stations and other roadside services was 63% to 16%.
In Missouri, the margins were 68% to 18% in favor of LOGO signs.
Conclusion: It’s Time to Take Aim at Billboard Blight
The hundreds of communities that fight billboards each year clearly reflect the will of the people. In virtually every reputable poll, significant majorities of Americans oppose billboard blight. The support for billboard control spans education levels, race, and gender; and it knows no geographic boundaries. People, in other words, are tired of watching their scenic roadsides transformed into oversized Yellow Pages.
Polls were: EPIC MRA September, 1997 Survey, questions commissioned by Michigan United Conservation Clubs; “An Analysis of Attitudes Concerning Billboards in the State of Rhode Island for Scenic Rhode Island,” by Fleming and Associates, February, 1990; “Survey on Outdoor Advertising,” for Florida House of Representatives, Transportation Committee, by Institute for Public Opinion Research, Florida International University, October, 1995; “Public Attitudes Toward Billboards in New Hampshire,” for New Hampshire Dept. Of Transportation, by University of New Hampshire, July, 1994; “Statewide Public Opinion Poll on Billboards,” for Scenic Missouri, by E. Terrance Jones November, 1994; “Assessing Public Opinion Regarding Billboards in the Houston Area,” for Scenic Houston, by Telesurveys Research Associates, August, 1996.