Baghdad polling

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Wed Sep 24 11:06:34 MDT 2003

In a Poll, Baghdad Residents Call Freedom Worth the Price

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 23 — After five months of foreign military 
occupation and the ouster of Saddam Hussein, nearly two-thirds of 
Baghdad residents believe that the removal of the Iraqi dictator has 
been worth the hardships they have been forced to endure, a new Gallup 
poll shows.

Despite the systemic collapse of government and civic institutions, a 
wave of looting and violence, and shortages of water and electricity, 67 
percent of 1,178 Iraqis told a Gallup survey team that within five 
years, their lives would be better than before the American and British 



Polls: When Measuring is Manipulating
By Norman Solomon

Before decisions get made in Washington -- and even before most 
politicians open their mouths about key issues -- there are polls. Lots 
of them. Whether splashed across front pages or commissioned by 
candidates for private analysis, the statistical sampling of public 
opinion is a constant in political life.

We may believe that polls tell us what Americans are thinking. But polls 
also gauge the effectiveness of media spin -- and contribute to it. 
Opinion polls don't just measure; they also manipulate, helping to shape 
thoughts and tilting our perceptions of how most people think.

Polls routinely invite the respondents to choose from choices that have 
already been prepared for them. Results hinge on the exact phrasing of 
questions and the array of multiple-choice answers, as candid players in 
the polling biz readily acknowledge.

"Slight differences in question wording, or in the placement of the 
questions in the interview, can have profound consequences," Gallup 
executive David Moore wrote a few years ago in his book "The 
Superpollsters." He observed that poll outcomes "are very much 
influenced by the polling process itself." And in turn, whatever their 
quality, polling numbers "influence perceptions, attitudes and decisions 
at every level of our society."



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