The ABC network, in conjunction with the BBC and Japan’s NHK, has repeatedly polled Iraqis about the state of their country and the U.S. occupation. On Monday night (3/16/09) they aired a report that featured findings from the latest poll. Anchor Charles Gibson reported:
Every year we have taken an extensive look at where things stand. Polling Iraqis and sending reporters across the country, both at times dangerous undertakings. But this year, extraordinary change, real optimism. 59 percent of Iraqis now say they feel very safe in their communities. And 65 percent say things are going well in their own lives. Both numbers up dramatically.
Reporter Terry McCarthy also cited the poll: “84 percent of Iraqis now say their neighborhood is safe, almost double the level in 2007.” But neither Gibson nor McCarthy mentioned some of the poll’s other striking findings, which were outlined by Editor & Publisher‘s Greg Mitchell (3/17/09):
Last year, 70 percent of Iraqis in the same survey said we were doing a bad job there. This year that dropped all the way to…69 percent. And that includes the always more favorable views of the Kurds.
That means 90 percent of Sunnis are negative (remember, they are supposed to be “awakening” towards us), and two out of three Shiites agree–largely unchanged from 2008….
Fifty-six percent now say the U.S. was wrong to invade, actually up (despite the cooling of violence) since last year’s 50 percent.
Mitchell quoted an ABC News online piece (3/16/09) that gave a more balanced account of the poll than that night’s broadcast:
Just 27 percent [of Iraqis] are confident in U.S. forces (albeit nearly double its low). Just 30 percent say U.S. and coalition forces have done a good job carrying out their responsibilities in Iraq. Still fewer, 18 percent, have a positive opinion of the United States overall. Barely over a third think the election of Barack Obama will help their country.