Department of Crass Manipulation
This story reached me courtesy of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Titled "How the Poll Results on Iraq Were Manipulated" and written by James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, it reveals how Dick Cheney spun the results of a public opinion poll in Iraq conducted by Zogby International in August of this year.
The poll was the first survey of public opinion in Iraq since the U.S. invaded and occupied the country in March. Following is the first half of the Zogby article:
Early in President Bush’s recent public relations campaign to rebuild support for the US war effort in Iraq, Vice President Cheney appeared on “Meet the Press.” Attempting to make the case that the US was winning in Iraq, Cheney made the following observations:
“There was a poll done, just random in the last week, first one I’ve seen carefully done; admittedly, it’s a difficult area to poll in. Zogby International did it with American Enterprise magazine. But that’s got very positive news in it in terms of the numbers it shows with respect to the attitudes to what Americans have done.
“One of the questions it asked is: ‘If you could have any model for the kind of government you’d like to have’ — and they were given five choices — ‘which would it be?’ The US wins hands down. If you want to ask them do they want an Islamic government established, by 2:1 margins they say no, including the Shiite population. If you ask how long they want Americans to stay, over 60 percent of the people polled said they want the US to stay for at least another year. So admittedly there are problems, especially in that area where Saddam Hussein was from, where people have benefited most from his regime and who’ve got the most to lose if we’re successful in our enterprise, and continuing attacks from terror. But to suggest somehow that that’s representative of the country at large or the Iraqi people are opposed to what we’ve done in Iraq or are actively and aggressively trying to undermine it, I just think that’s not true.”
In fact, Zogby International (ZI) in Iraq had conducted the poll, and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) did publish their interpretation of the findings. But the AEI’s “spin” and the vice president’s use of their “spin” created a faulty impression of the poll’s results and, therefore, of the attitudes of the Iraqi people.
For example, while Cheney noted that when asked what kind of government they would like, Iraqis chose “the US... hands down,” in fact, the results of the poll are actually quite different. Twenty-three percent of Iraqis say that they would like to model their new government after the US; 17.5 percent would like their model to be Saudi Arabia; 12 percent say Syria, 7 percent say Egypt and 37 percent say “none of the above.” That’s hardly “winning hands down.”
When given the choice as to whether they “would like to see the American and British forces leave Iraq in six months, one year, or two years,” 31.5 percent of Iraqis say these forces should leave in six months; 34 percent say a year, and only 25 percent say two or more years.
So while technically Cheney might say that “over 60 percent (actually it’s 59 percent) ... want the US to stay at least another year,” an equally correct observation would be that 65.5 percent want the US and Britain to leave in one year or less.
Click here to read the rest.