Sunday, March 18, 2007

polls in iraq

the times of london is reporting that "most iraqis believe life is better for them now than it was under saddam hussein." as rick blair points out, the actual polling data has 49% of iraqis saying life is better off now. less than half is not "most" even though it seems to be a plurality according to the poll.

in any case, this poll comes out only a couple of months after a prior poll that showed 90% of iraqis saying they were better off under saddam. that's a pretty big difference from the times' poll, and yet no one seems to be explaining how to reconcile the two. i suspect it may come down to how the questions were asked.1 but unfortunately, i can't find the original poll report from the december 2006 poll. the raw data from the march 2007 poll is here (pdf).

i guess i should just download it. it seems that every time there is a new poll out, the raw data of the prior poll is impossible to retrieve, either because of link rot, or because the for-profit polling firm has stuck it in their firewall protected archives. in any case, if anyone has the earlier poll data lying around somewhere, i am interested in looking at all to see if i can see any differences in how the questions are spun.

1-it's also possible that you simply can't get a good sample for polling purposes in a violent war zone like iraq. that would mean all of the surveys are questionable, no matter how they're worded.