GMAT : Analysis of An Argument
15. The following appeared as a part of an advertisement for Adams who is seeking re-election as Governor.
Re-elect Adams and you will be voting for proven leadership in improving the state's economy. Over the past year alone, seventy percent of the state's workers have had increases in their wages, five thousand new jobs have been created and six corporations have located their head-quarters here. Most of the respondents in a recent poll said they believed that the economy is likely to continue to improve if Adams is re-elected. Adam's opponent, Zebulon, would lead our state in the wrong direction, because Zebulon disagrees with many of Adam's economic policies.
Discuss how well reasoned you find this argument. In your discussion be sure to analyze the line of reasoning and the use of evidence in the argument. For example, you may need to consider what questionable assumptions underline the thinking and what alternative explanations or counterexamples might weaken the conclusion. You can also discuss what sort of evidence would strengthen or refute the argument, what changes in the argument would make it more logically sound and what, if anything, would help you better evaluate in conclusion.
This political advertisement recommends re-electing Governor Adams because he has a proven leadership role in improving the state's economy.
In support of this reason the author cites these statistics. In the past year most state workers' wages have gone up. 5,000 new jobs have been created. And six corporations have located in the state.
Another reason offered for re-electing Adams is a recent poll indicating most respondents believe the state economy would continue to improve if he were re-elected.
Finally, the author claims that rival Zebulon would harm the state's economy because he disagrees with Adams' fiscal policies.
This argument is fraught with vague, oversimplified and unwarranted claims.
To begin with, the statistics are intended to support the main claim that the state is economically better off with Adams as governor. But these statistics are vague and oversimplified and thus may distort the state's overall economic picture. For example, state workers' pay raises may have been minuscule and may not have kept up with cost of living or with pay for state workers in other states.
Moreover, the 5,000 new jobs may have been too few to bring state unemployment rates down significantly. At the same time many jobs may have been lost.
Finally, the poll indicates that six new corporations located in the state, but fails to indicate if any corporations had left the state during the same period.
Next, the poll cited by the author is described in the vaguest possible terms. The ad does not indicate who conducted the poll, who responded or how the poll was conducted. Until these questions are answered, the survey results are worthless as evidence for public opinion about Adams or his economic policies.
Finally, while we have only vague and possibly distorted evidence that the state is better off with Adams, we have absolutely no evidence that it would be worse off with Zebulon. Given that the state economy is good now, none of the author's reasons establishes that Adams is the cause of this nor do they establish that the state wouldn't be even better off with someone else in office.
In conclusion, this argument is weak. To strengthen the argument, the author must provide additional information about the adequacy of state workers' pay raises, the effect of the 5,000 jobs on the state's employment picture, the overall growth of corporations in the state and other features of the state economy. Also, the author must support the claims that Adams' actions have caused any economic improvement and that in the future Adams will impart more economic benefit than would Zebulon do.