Blogging in Berkeley. Notes on news, politics, law, and technology in the US and China. [This blog is inactive. I am now staying busy and having a great time at UVA Law.]
Friday, January 07, 2005
  Polling Pre-election Iraq

Ali Jasim/Reuters

Ladybird translated an election poll from Al-Sahab newspaper...

Baghdad Dweller -- Election poll from Al-sabah:
The poll was of 4974 Iraqis living in and around Baghdad.

The following is the translation of the poll and the results:

Will the security problems cause you to?
Not come out and vote the day of elections = 18.3%
Come out and vote the day of elections = 78.3%
No opinion = 3.4%

Do you support the Iraqi Government having its own official newspaper?
Yes = 67.7%
No = 30.9%
Do Not know = 1.4%?

Do you support military action against the terrorists?
Yes = 87.7%
No = 11.1%
Don't Know = 1.2%"

A few points about these results...

Almost 5,000 people seems like a pretty good sampling. Most US polls with margins of error under 5% have 1,000 or less participants. I would be interested to know more about the sample group though. For instance what percentage of the respondents were women?

On voting-

Baghdad Iraqis intending to vote: 78.3%
Voter turnout for the 2004 US election: 59%

Any US poll asking voters whether they intend to vote will have a higher percentage than the actual voter turnout (Americans don't like to admit that they won't or don't vote). But I'm not sure that the Iraqi responses would be similarly inaccurate. Some Iraqis -- especially Sunnis -- oppose the election altogether. So there would be less stigma attached to admitting to not planning to vote out of opposition or apathy than in the US. Here we treat voting as a sort of civic duty, not enough time has passed for such an attitude to develop in Iraq.

On government media-

I'm not crazy about "official" newspapers, but Iraqis are just starting to think about what democracy will mean and we also must accept that Iraqi democracy is not going to be a carbon copy of American democracy.

Additionally, I think that affirmative responses could be interpreted as Iraqis indicating that they want their elected government to have the trappings of legitimacy to which they Iraqi people are accustomed and they want their government to communicate with the people about policies.

On terrorists-

Whether we call them insurgents or terrorists, the will to stop them from destroying Iraq is not diminishing among Iraqis, if anything it is strengthening.

Baghdad blogger and dentist, Omar of Iraq the Model pointed out that this poll was conducted in the most dangerous area of Iraq, and that is also disproportionately populated by Sunni Arabs. Perhaps similar polls in areas with a greater percentage of majority Shi'a Arabs would be even more strongly in favor of elections and military action against terrorists.
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