I got a phone call about a week ago that asked if I had the time to participate in a poll about local politicians. I said “yes” and started answering questions. It quickly became apparent from the questions that the poll was by or for the campaign of State Senator Mike Jacobs. The most interesting part was when they read a few reasons for voting for Mike Jacobs and then a few reasons for voting against him and asking me to rate the persuasiveness of each. I did not write anything down so I am doing this from memory but the reasons for voting for Mike Jacobs had to do with him being instrumental in getting funding for the WIU campus in Moline, support for the Thomson Prison, his support for education and things like that. The reasons for voting against Mike Jacobs were him “speaking before thinking” when defending the riverboat gambling industry and him saying that union workers made too much money and since he was appointed rather than elected he was beholden to the party insiders rather than to the voters.
How would you rate the persuasiveness of the reasons for compared to the reasons against? On the reasons for it is not clear how much credit Senator Jacobs should be given. You just have to take his word for it that he was instrumental in getting the funding. There is no doubt about the reasons against voting for him. You know that he said those things. You know he was appointed and is beholden to those who did the appointing. No doubt about it.
I don’t want to make any predictions because it seems kind of risky to predict the defeat of an incumbent with the backing of party and a hundred fold advantage in money. But I keep thinking about those reasons for and against as defined by his own campaign. It was sort of like debating an empty chair and losing.