Good poll news from Iraq

Erik Svane says that the media is not reporting the good poll news from Iraq:

Indeed, one reason that “the global image of America has slipped,” that “pessimism about the future of Iraq was widespread,” and that “Iraq is sapping good will to the United States” may be that they see so few polls from Iraq. As it happens, polls from Iraq — both Western and Iraqi — do exist. To mention only four (that are quoted in my book on anti-Americanism in France and Europe, La Bannière Étalée): in March 2004, a BBC poll found that 56% of Iraqis said life was better than before the war (only 17% thought it was worse) while 71% said life would improve and only 15% wanted foreign troops to leave the country. A January 2005 poll by the Iraqi daily Sabah found that 88% of respondents supported military action against the so-called “insurgents,” while only 13% in a poll by the Al Midhar newspaper wished for the immediate departure of foreign troops. In polls conducted by Iraqi universities in the Fall of 2005, two thirds of respondents said life was better than under Saddam while no less than 82% expected their personal lives to be even better one year in the future.

OK, but why doesn’t Svane report the results of any 2006 polls from Iraq? I found one:

A new poll released by the International Republican Institute (IRI) revealed 45 percent of Iraqis favor the formation of a unity government compared to 25 percent who think the winning coalition should occupy top posts and eight percent who think the distribution of power should be reflective of the distribution of votes.

With concern growing over the present security situation, 48 percent of Iraqis believe security should be the number one priority of the new government and 80 percent believe armed militias make Iraq more dangerous and should be abolished. As Iraq’s police and military become better trained and more professional, 87 percent prefer that their safety be ensured by a national force versus 10 percent who prefer specific militias.

More good news that the media didn’t report, I guess. But when you look at the detailed results (PowerPoint) this graph jumps out at you:


As recently as April 2005, 67% of Iraqis felt that the country was heading in the right direction, but now they’re no longer optimistic with only 30% thinking that it’s heading in the right direction. Answers to other questions reveal that Iraqis think things have been getting worse over the previous three months. 76% think wages have gotten worse (6% think better), 68% think corruption has gotten worse (3% better), 61% think unemployment has gotten worse (9% better) and 55% think security has gotten worse (21% better).

So that’s the poll news from Iraq that the media isn’t reporting.


  1. #1 JB
    July 9, 2006

    “but now they’re no longer optimistic with only 30% thinking that it’s heading in the right direction.”

    Funny, that sounds exactly like recent polls done here in the US.

    In a recent TIME survey (June 30, 2006), “66% said the country [US] is on the wrong track, vs. 28% who said it’s going in the right direction.” (actually slightly less than the number for Iraq, though undoubtedly within the margin or error).,8599,1209851,00.html

    Then again, the mirrororing of polls in the two countries is not particularly surprising, since the war in Iraq is foremost on American’s minds and (again according to Time) “Only 33% of Americans in the survey said they approved of Bush’s handling of the situation in Iraq”.

    But, hey, who pays attention to polls? (Or what is the same thing, to what most people in the country think)

  2. #2 Realish
    July 9, 2006

    What about the Iraqis that haven’t been killed in ethnic warfare or raped by American soldiers? You never hear about them. F’ing MM.

  3. #3 Per Klevnas
    July 10, 2006

    Thanks Tim.

    I’d comment that there is a general dearth of good analysis of Iraqi poll data, as well as discussion of the constraints on good polling that arise from the chaotic conditions in the country.

    We’ve assembeled a list of opinion polls carried out in Iraq that should be useful for those interested in this issue.

  4. #4 z
    July 10, 2006

    I must argue that the poll is biased, as it was only done on a sample of the Iraqi public, and a random sample at that.

  5. #5 Ian Gould
    July 11, 2006

    Not to mention it only covers the Iraqis who haven’t been killed or fled the country and who live outside areas too dangerous for the pollsters to operate in.

  6. #6 Jeff Harvey
    July 11, 2006

    From the post of Per Klevnas: The most alarming poll is the Zogby poll of U.S. tropps in Iraq in February, 2006, which produced these results:

    “85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks”

    “77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq”

    Yup, this clinches it. It proves that the mendacious propaganda system is alive an well, via the mainstream US media, which functions a conduit of government lies and disinformation. Where else could US servicemen and women have learned this utter crap?

  7. #7 z
    July 11, 2006

    “Not to mention it only covers the Iraqis who haven’t been killed or fled the country and who live outside areas too dangerous for the pollsters to operate in.”

    Dead Iraqis Still Unanimously Back US Invasion

    In the most recent poll of 23,742 Iraqis who died since the US invaded, an astonishing 0% answered yes when asked if they would rather the US had not invaded.

  8. #8 dsquared
    July 12, 2006

    Tim, nearly all the polls have asterisks indicating that Anbar governorate wasn’t included (presumably because it was too dangerous) but the one on the right hand edge doesn’t. If the big drop is a result of Anbar now being safe enough to do polls in then this could perversely be good news. I have done no work on this assumption at all by the way and would be very cross indeed to see it cited elsewhere – I just raised it as a possiblity in case someone could explain it.

  9. #9 Tim Lambert
    July 12, 2006

    Anbar is only 5% of the population so including it can’t make that much difference.

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