Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Revenge of the Dittoheads

In December 2004, Juan Cole asserted that the Iraq the Model blogsite was not representative of Iraqi opinion. Cole believed that Omar was far too pro-American to be taken seriously and presented as proof an April 2004 Gallup poll which concluded that most Iraqis believed US forces were detestable occupiers. The Gallup poll was based on a sample of 3,500 Iraqis across the country from a variety of ethnic groups.

"My allegation that the IraqTheModel website is far outside the norm of Iraqi public opinion as measured by polling has caused a stir in the weblogging world among, apparently, dittoheads who can't read polls."

On Balance, do you think of the Americans mostly as Occupiers or liberators?

Occupiers: 71 %
Liberators 19%


Although that poll was a year old and taken at the height of fighting in Iraq Cole had presented his data and awaited a response. Iraq the Model answers with a new poll taken by the Al-Sabah newspaper based on a sample of slightly fewer than 5,000 people living around Baghdad. Although it is not strictly comparable to the Gallup Poll, the Al-Sabah poll suggests things may be a little more complex than Professor Cole believes. (Hat tip: Mudville Gazette)

1-The poll was of 4974 Iraqis living in and around Baghdad.

2-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%

3-Do you support military action against the terrorists?Yes = 87.7 %No = 11.1% Don’t Know = 1.2%

If these were the results that appeared after taking samples from in and around Baghdad which is considered to be the most dangerous area in the country (and inhabited by lots of Sunni Iraqis by the way!), then what would the results look like if the samples were taken from Basra or Erbil??

Of course, what will really count are the Iraqi election results on January 30. While a high voter turnout may not necessarily indicate a rejection by the Sunni community of the insurgency, it would certainly be a strong indicator that the Iraqi nation as a whole did not support it. Who's right? Juan Cole or Iraq the Model? We'll know in three weeks.