The Therapy Sessions
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Watch the polls
I can't say how many news stories I have now read that say things like "Iraqis' increasing frustration" or "growing anger."
This is poor journalism. Journalists should confine themselves to facts, for they are always poor at judging public opinion. American journalists were even poor at judging American opinion in the last election: few saw Bush winning at all (even though his victory was pretty well foretold by the polls).
Hello cynical journalists. Here is a fact:Poll of Iraqis detects optimism
WASHINGTON - Nearly three-quarters of Iraqis say they "strongly intend" to vote in next month's pivotal elections, and a small majority believe the country is headed in the right direction, according to a major new poll of Iraqi attitudes.
The poll of nearly 2,200 people across most of Iraq found a resilient citizenry modestly hopeful that the Jan. 30 elections will improve life. Iraqis said pocketbook issues such as unemployment and health care are more pressing than the bloody insurgency that claims Iraqi and U.S. lives virtually every day.
But the poll, to be released today by the International Republican Institute, also uncovered worrisome signs for the elections.
Significantly fewer Iraqis living in predominantly Sunni Muslim areas said they intend to vote. The finding underlines growing concern that the elections will be seen as legitimate by majority Shiite Muslims but rejected by minority Sunnis, who monopolized political power under Saddam Hussein...
...36 percent of those surveyed identified themselves as Sunni Muslims and 60 percent as Shiites, roughly in line with Iraq's religious makeup.
Of course, journalists have already declared failure in Iraq so many times that contradictory news like this is often relegated to the inner pages of the newspapers (this story was on page 16 of the Philadelphia Inquirer).
If Iraq becomes a pluralistic, democratic society (a very difficult and very worthy goal), reporters will once again be shaking their heads about how they managed to get things so wrong.