Iraqi opinion polls and the “Does he take sugar?” tendency
In my post last night about the imminent Iraq war 10th anniversary hate fest I wondered why so few people want to know if the Iraqis think the 2003 invasion was “worth it”. Some of the anti-war types seem to belong to the “Does he take sugar?” tendency, refining anti-American conspiracy theories among themselves as if the supposed victims of allaboutoilism have no opinion.
Anyway, I said in yesterday’s post that nobody seems to be carrying out opinion polls in Iraq any more. It turns out that this was, in the language of the “Does he take sugar?” tendency, a lie – that is, an assertion made in good faith that turned out not to be true.
I am grateful to the well-informed Meg Munn, a Labour MP who visits Iraq frequently, for letting me know about polls carried out by GQR for the National Democratic Institute.
The most recent was in April 2012. It tempers the gloomy picture painted by Toby Dodge, finding that more Iraqis (48%) thought the country was moving in the right direction than the wrong one (44%). It showed increases in those thinking the Iraqi economy was strong (52%) and that security and sectarianism were getting better (page 26).
One of the more depressing findings is that Iraqis were equally divided (45% to 45%) as to whether or not “Iraq today is a real democracy” (page 37).
There was also a Zogby poll in September 2011, just before the withdrawal of US combat troops in December. (This was drawn to my attention by someone who called me Julius Streicher, but it by no means shows what he thinks it shows.)
More Iraqis (42%) said they were “worse off than they were before the American forces entered their country” than “better off” (30%, page 4). The only area in which they think things have improved since then is “religious freedom” (by 39% to 36%, page 6).
But asked (page 19) “How optimistic/pessimistic are you about the long-term prospects for stability and progress in your country?” 55% were optimistic and 31% pessimistic.
As far as I know, no opinion poll in Iraq since 2006 has asked whether Iraqis think the 2003 invasion was “worth it”, but that is mainly because it is not a question that they spend much time debating.
But it would be good if the “Does he take sugar?” tendency at least realised that the opinions of the Iraqi people matter too.
Photograph of US forces leaving Iraq: GettyTagged in: iraq, iraq war, opinion polls
Latest from Independent journalists on Twitter