Monday, September 29, 2003

Good news?

This was said on the Chris Matthew's Show a couple of days ago:
BYRON YORK: There are reports coming out of Iraq that things are getting better.

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Let's let this poll make your point. A recent poll done in Baghdad by the Gallup organization has two-thirds of the Iraqi people who were interviewed saying it was good to get rid of Saddam despite all the carnage since.

Yes folks, it's good news that only 30% of the Iraqis surveyed think it was a bad idea to get rid of Saddam. Thirty percent of 24,683,313 is 7.4 million. That's a lot of people who - apparently - don't like the changes the U.S. is responsible for. And not a few are willing to fight back.

NOTE: The poll is clearly one that has to be taken with several grains of salt. Some people, intimidated by the U.S. presence, might be inclined to say it's good Saddam is gone. Some people, worried about Saddam loyalists, might be inclined to say it's bad Saddam is gone. And the poll was taken in Baghdad. But thirty percent is a pretty big number. Even if it is reduced to 5%, you've got a lot of unhappy Iraqis out there (one million). This seems obvious, but Matthews looks past that to focus on the 62% that are happy about regime change.

UPDATE: It's worse than we suspected. From the Washington Post, Data Reveal Inaccuracies in Portrayal of Iraqis: (excerpt, emphasis added)
    ... in testimony before Congress, L. Paul Bremer III, the U.S. administrator in Iraq, and Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz both cited a recent Gallup Poll that found that almost two-thirds of those polled in Baghdad said it was worth the hardships suffered since the U.S.-led invasion ousted Saddam Hussein.< Bremer also told Congress that 67 percent thought that in five years they would be better off, and only 11 percent thought they would be worse off.
    That same poll, however, found that, countrywide, only 33 percent thought they were better off than they were before the invasion and 47 percent said they were worse off. And 94 percent said that Baghdad was a more dangerous place for them to live, a finding the administration officials did not discuss.
    The poll also found that 29 percent of Baghdad residents had a favorable view of the United States, while 44 percent had a negative view. By comparison, 55 percent had a favorable view of France.
    Similarly, half of Baghdad residents had a negative view of President Bush, while 29 percent had a favorable view of him. In contrast, French President Jacques Chirac drew a 42 percent favorable rating.


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