Thursday, March 18, 2004

Patience, patience

The Spanish election result last week may be interpreted as "capitulation" and "appeasament." They certainly will be seen that way in Islamist circles, which is tragic for the West.

But this poll done by Noxa Consulting the day before the bombings, showed the Socialists already ahead with a 2 percent majority. "A similar poll conducted Friday -- a day after the attacks, gave the Socialists an even greater lead. The big difference -- and the clear reason of the Socialist victory -- was the nearly 3 million votes the Socialists added while Aznar's now not so Popular Party lost about 690,000 votes." [UPI]. But I'm suspicious of a poll whose results don't turn up until after the election.

And is there really a UPI anymore?

Even according to other polls, though, the "flip" after the Madrid terror attacks was not massive. It was enough to swing the election. And there was enough suspicion of duplicity by the standing government to account for some of that. But to say the Spanish as a whole voted for the Socialists in 2004 is like saying all Americans voted for Bush in 2000. Here, courtesy of CNN:

Party: Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE), Leader: Jose Luis RODRIGUEZ ZAPATERO

  • Seats won in this election to the Chamber of Deputies: 164
  • Seats won in this election to the Senate: 81
  • Seats won in last election to the Chamber of Deputies: 125
  • Seats won in last election to the Senate: 61

Party: People’s Party (PP), Leader: Mariano RAJOY (Aznar's party)

  • Seats won in this election to the Chamber of Deputies:148
  • Seats won in this election to the Senate: 102
  • Seats won in last election to the Chamber of Deputies: 183
  • Seats won in last election to the Senate: 127

Even in a nation where, as we constantly are reminded, nine out of 10 people opposed Spain's participation in the Iraq war, nearly half of the voters still backed Anzar's party.

Meanwhile, in Iraq

Some strange results in this exhaustive, and apparently unbiased, poll of Iraqis. "Asked whether their lives were better now than in the spring of 2003, nearly six in ten Iraqis said the situation was somewhat better or much better than it was, according to the survey of 2,500 people conducted for a group of broadcasting organizations by Oxford Research International. ... Asked how things were going in their lives these days, seven in 10 said the situation was very good or quite good, and only 15 percent said things were very bad. Looking ahead, 71 percent said they expected conditions in their lives to be much better or somewhat better a year from now."

Yet, "[w]hile half of those questioned believe the invasion was the right thing to do, compared with 39 percent who said it was wrong, more than four in 10 said they had no confidence whatsoever in U.S. and British occupation troops, and 51 percent oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq. ... Asked whether attacks on coalition forces were justified, 17 percent said yes. Nearly 14 percent said attacks on the CPA were justified. Four percent said attacks on foreigners working for the United Nations and aid agencies were justified.

Here are the full poll results:

Warning, PDF file.

But the seeming ambivalence may not be so, when it's overlaid with this survey ABC News (not a particularly pro-war set) has done in a poll of more than 2,500 Iraqis. This one broke down the statistics by ethno-religious groups: Sunni Arab, Shia Arab, or Kurd.

To the question "Was the US-led invasion right or wrong?" the answers were:

  • Sunni: right=24% wrong=63%
  • Shia: right=51% wrong=35%
  • Kurds: right=87% wrong=9%

To the question "Are attacks on Coalition forces acceptable?" the answers were:

  • Sunni: acceptable=36% unacceptable=57%
  • Shia: acceptable=12% unacceptable=85%
  • Kurds: acceptable=2% unacceptable=96%

To the statement "Coalition should leave now" agreement was:

  • Sunni: yes=29%
  • Shia: yes=12%
  • Kurds: yes=2%

That's more like what I expect.