Good news and bad news out of
In the context of these dynamics, WorldPublicOpinion.org has undertaken a second poll of the Iraqi (ed: the first poll was conducted in January, 2006) people to determine their attitudes about these various developments occurring around them, and also to differentiate the views of the ethnic subgroups—Arab Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.
The poll was fielded by KA Research Limited/D3 Systems, Inc. Polling was conducted September 1-4 with a nationwide sample of 1,150, which included an oversample of Arab Sunnis. Respondents from all of
Here are the findings that struck me as significant:
- Seven in ten Iraqis want US-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year. An overwhelming majority believes that the
military presence in US is provoking more conflict than it is preventing. More broadly, most feel the Iraq is having a predominantly negative influence in US and have little or no confidence in the Iraq military. If the US made a commitment to withdraw, a majority believes that this would strengthen the Iraqi government. US
- Support for attacks on US-led forces has grown to a majority position—now six in ten. Support appears to be related to widespread perception, held by all ethnic groups, that the
government plans to have permanent military bases in US and would not withdraw its forces from Iraq even if the Iraqi government asked it to. If the Iraq were to commit to withdraw, more than half of those who approve of attacks on US troops say that their support for attacks would diminish US
3. Growing approval for attacks on US-led forces has not been accompanied by any significant support for al Qaeda. Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden are rejected by overwhelming majorities of Shias and Kurds and large majorities of Sunnis. (And later: Overall 94 percent have an unfavorable view of al Qaeda, with 82 percent expressing a very unfavorable view. Of all organizations and individuals assessed in this poll, it received the most negative ratings.)
- Prime Minister Maliki is viewed favorably by Kurds as well as Shias, but not at all by Sunnis. Grand Ayatollah Sistani and Muqtada al Sadr are quite divisive figures: overwhelmingly endorsed by Shias and overwhelmingly rejected by both Kurds and Sunnis.
These are the opinions of the sample population, and I’ll not quibble over whether the results are reliable, or not. The subject and the results are interesting, but in the end, this is just a poll. I’m not all that trusting in polls, in general. That said, the term “oversample of Arab Sunnis” raises my eyebrows a bit. Perhaps I missed it, but I found no definition of what this term means.
I do find the grouping of the responses, and the survey population in general, to be somewhat strange. The polling organization describes the objective as to determine the opinions of “the ethnic subgroups—Arab Sunnis, Shia and Kurds.” Just sayin’ here, but is this a reasonable way to slice and dice the Iraqi population? Would we consider the results of a poll of Americans categorized into “ethnic sub-groups” of Catholics, Protestants, and Jews accurate, or even relevant?
The pollsters differentiated between Arab Sunnis and Kurds, who are also Sunnis, but isn’t the distribution of these two groups of people based more upon geography, rather than religion? And speaking of geography, just where was the poll taken? What is the geographic distribution of the polled subjects? We’re not told. I would think the results just might be significantly different if the poll participants were predominantly in
Finally, we know not the political affiliation of those polled, the income levels, the education levels, and other demographic identifiers that may or may not skew the results.
So much for my issues with methodology, and you gotta take my comments with a block of salt. I know about as much about polling methods and procedures as I do about astrophysics, which is to say: very little.
As to the results…the best thing is the fact the Iraqis apparently reject al Qaeda, completely. The supporting detail narrative in the report shows this to be true across all three ethnic sub-groups. The worst thing in the report is that six out of ten Iraqis support attacks on coalition forces. This is NOT good, not at all. And there’s a lot in between the best and the worst. At best, I think we’re receiving a group of mixed messages here. The poll is interesting, but it certainly isn’t the basis upon which policy should be made or changed. Draw your own conclusions.
Today’s Pic: One of the entrances to the Murrah Building Memorial,
Light blogging today, as I have a project I absolutely must complete. I’ve been procrastinating, as is my wont, and the deadline is NOW.