Tuesday, February 14, 2006

A Telephone Poll

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.


Anonymous said...

Senator Jacobs deserves our admiration and respect. It takes a good man to spend some much time in the bars without driving away drunk and killing some children.

The Inside Dope said...

It always amazes me. I should have gone into polling. There's no end to the paranoia and gullibility of some politicians, and when they have tons of cash, you can charge them up the wazoo for endless polls to supposedly sooth their fevered brows.

Why in the world would you need to pay thousands for a poll asking if saying idiotic things was a negative?

It's amazing but the Jacobs supporters are trying to say that polling shows that his employing a masseuse for research is going over great with voters... that it's a big plus for the senator.

The fact is, they'll say and do anything, and I don't know why they waste money on polls, as any half-wit could tell you what is good and what's bad. I mean, what are they trying to figure out, whether more bone-head comments and more blustery empty boasting is the way to go?

Dave Barrett said...
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Dave Barrett said...

Senator Jacobs has more campaign money than he knows what to do with by virtue of being an incumbent. The Democratic leadership throws money at all Democratic incumbents in order to maintain their majority, irregardless of politics or competency.

What an interesting picture you paint, inside dope, of professional pollsters and campaign consultants cheerfully charging top dollar to a doomed campaign with huge negatives among likely primary voters and whose only positives are supposed funding accomplishments which disappeared in a puff of smoke when the governor's budget was released, composing poll questions with obvious answers whose mere recitation by the pollster actually reinforce in the mind of the pollees, carefully chosen likely primary voters, the very negatives the pollster tells the candidate he is measuring.