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March 04, 2006

The Zogby Poll

Okay, here it is, since Owen is so interested in it. I finally got a copy of the poll questions and demographics. Of course, Iím posting this on Saturday morning, so itís not going to get read much (which will hopefully keep the moonbat population down, anyway).

For discussions on the methodology, etc, check out Radio Blogger where Hewitt interviews Zogby (but keep going down for a discussion of the poll), and the Mystery Pollster blog.

Ya might wanna open up the poll questions with all the data in a separate window, so I've thoughtfully provided the pdf so you can do that. Download file by clicking here.

On the demographics Ė Zogby wonít go into revealable detail (so I wonít bother asking for it, frankly) but it appears that the pollsters intercepted troops at various points in Iraq, on the street, and asked them to answer the questions. There is no information given on how many (as I would do in this situation) simply refused the offer to take the poll. There is refused-to-answer data per question, but unless I missed it, there isnít any for flat refusals to participate at all.

I would also be interested in a rank and time-in-service breakdown, none is provided.

Iím guessing that this methodology under-represents senior NCOs and officers, though that isnít a given. But itís why Iíd like rank and time-in-service data, and while the sample wasnít self-selected in the way an internet poll is, there is still no data on how many people opted out (and, of course, the demographics of that would be interesting, too).

This is just observation. Iím not contending, based on what little Iíve gleaned, that the sample is in fact bad, Iím saying there is insufficient data for me to have an informed opinion.

By the way - if you are reading this and *actually* took the poll - the youngsters over at The Officer's Club would love to hear from you (h/t, Maggie).

[The rest of this is in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry]

Okay, the questions. (Again, Iím going to cherry-pick my points; you should be looking at the overall data, too).

Questions 1-6 were the demo data. The issue questions start with #7. Iím not going answer by answer Ė thatís why you should have the pdf open, in case you havenít taken the hint yetÖ

Question 7. Which one of the following best describes your understanding of the U.S. mission in Iraq?

58% said they had a clear or somewhat clear understanding. I dunno, I wonder how a high school/college demographic would split out there. Note, this is self-description, they could all be wrongÖ

The following questions flesh that out and refer to what the reasons the troops believed them to be.

Question 8. To remove weapons of mass destruction from Iraq:

63% said that was *not* a reason. A further 30% said it was a *minor* reason. Talk about *not* getting your MSM talking points!

Question 9. To remove Saddam Hussein from power:

68% that was the major or main reason. I got no beef with that result.

Question 10. To establish a democracy that can be a model for the Arab world:

52% said that was a minor reason. 21% said not a reason, and 24% (Iím rounding, btw) said it was the main or major reason. Looks like the bulk of the troops *didnít* get their Neocon talking points.

Question 11. To stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq:

76% said that was the main or major reason. So the troops *have* been getting the DoD talking pointsÖ

Question 12. To retaliate for Saddamís role in the 9/11 attacks:

85% gave a yes answer to that being a major or main reason. That oneís a little problematic. But again Ė how many ĎMuricans in that age group would answer that way, I wonder?

Question 13. To secure Iraqi Oil Supplies.

79% said not a reason or a minor reason. The troops have *not* been getting their Move.On talking points, thatís for sure. 11% said it *was* blood for oil.

Question 14. To provide a long-term base for U.S. Troops in the Middle East.

88% said no, or a minor reason. Again, the troops arenít living up to the antiís expectations.

Question 15. How long should US troops stay in Iraq?

This is the much-discussed one. Not surprisingly, the troops want to be home. The same thing was true of the troops in 1944. This one deserves a fuller break-out:

Withdraw immediately: 28.9%
Next 6 months: 22.3%
6 to 12 months: 20.5%
Stay as long as needed: 22.8%
Not sure: 5.0%

Iíd like to do some interviewing to follow-up on these. The nature of this beast didnít allow for that.

Question 16: According to recent polls, about half of Americans favor a rapid withdrawal and half favor and open-ended occupation of Iraq. Which do you believe best describes the motives of those favoring rapid withdrawal.

Another one worthy of a fuller breakdown. Reminder, these arenít the troops opinions about the mission in Iraq, itís their opinions of those who *oppose* the continuation of the mission as itís currently being conducted.

They are unpatriotic: 36.8%
Not aware of the need for US troops: 14.7%
Believe the occupation will not work: 20.2%
Against pre-emptive war: 16.4%

Those numbers donít surprise me. The troops are generally more even-handed and less brainwashed than most people give Ďem credit for. And they like to think that what they are doing is important and supported, so, yeah, they donít like people dissiní it, either. Itís how they act on their belief thatís important here.

Question 17. Ongoing attacks on our troops have made me negative about the Iraqi people.

53.7% said definitely FALSE. 26.6% said MOSTLY false.

That strikes me as a significant achievement on the part of the troops and the leadership Ė the troops are blaming the fish, not the ocean they swim in. Thatís a good thing.

Question 18. The insurgency consists mostly of discontented Sunnis with relatively few (no more than 5%) non-Iraqi helpers.

35% said mostly true. Another 35% said partly true, partly false.

This is interesting, especially when added to the question below.

Question 19. If non-Iraqi terrorists could be prevented from crossing the border into Iraq the insurgency would end.

65% said that was either definitely or mostly FALSE.

Based on those two questions, the troops see the enemy as mostly a local, Sunni, problem. Thereís another area Iíd have flagged for follow-up.

Question 20. To control the insurgency we need to double the level of ground troops and bombing missions.

This question makes the implicit assumption that that is the only option, and doesnít allow anyone to break the two up or consider other options, presenting a false choice problem for the taker of the poll. I would have refused to answer this question, personally. This is a problem with a different question, too. The answers were spread out, so letís break Ďem out.

Definitely false: 9%
Mostly false: 11%
Partly true, partly false: 13%
Mostly true: 35%
Definitely true: 18%
Not sure: 14%

So, over half want more troops or more bombing or both. Okay. Again, Iíd want follow-up. Why? Well, hell, if Iím working my ass off, Iíd want more troops, too. And if Iím risking my ass, Iíd want more troops to spread the hit points around with as well. The problem is, adding more people doesnít mean youíll work less, or be safer, or not just get in each others way and create a severe drag on the logistics system which might well make your life worse. The point is, the question and answers, as presented, simply donít advance the issue or our understanding of it.

Question 21. Infrastructure in Iraq (roads, water, electricity, health care) improved greatly over the past year.

34% said false or mostly false. 30% said true or mostly true. 28% said partly true partly false.

Back to demographics and the information Zogby wonít release unless you promise to not make it public. Where you are at in Iraq makes a difference in the answer to this question. And since the bulk of the troops are where things are happening, and in our business, things happening many times means killing people, breaking things, etc, who you are, where you are, and what your job is makes a big difference in how you perceive this.

Question 22. The Department of Defense has provided adequate troop protection (body armor; Humvee plating, munitions).

43% say definitely true or mostly true. 30% say definitely false or mostly false.

Um, Bill Ė did Uncle *ever* give you enough stuff? I never had enough stuff. Demographics comes into play here, too. If you are in a relatively safe job, and the powers that be prioritized you out of the latest and best stuff, you feel like you didnít get what you needed, especially if the science of statistics didnít work out in your favor and you *did* get hurt. There *are* real issues for Guard and Reserve combat troops, too. Sure, weíd like the number who think that everything is going well to be higherÖ but I think Iíd like to see a comparative analysis from wars gone by. Comparing this to virtually any other US war, Iíd say these are great numbers. And thereís always room for improvement, especially on the body armor side and similar issues where we arguably havenít gone to a true war footing.

Question 23. Is it legitimate to use white phosphorus or napalm-like inflamants against insurgents?

Bad question. Conflating two different munitions with different purposes to the same mission, something Iíve discussed before, here. White Phosphorus is legal to use for its intended purpose, the relevant conventions *not* banning that use. If Iíd been asked this question, I would have refused to answer. If pushed against a wall, and not allowed to separate out the two different munitions, I would have said no, it isnít, as US policy says we wonít use napalm any more. Which pretty much reflects what the troops said Ė but isnít really framing the question properly.

46% said false or mostly false. 24% said yes/no, and 20% said true or mostly true.

So, whoís got a gripe with that?

Question 24. Is it standard and appropriate military conduct to use harsh and threatening interrogation methods on possible insurgent prisoners if they could have information of military value?

54% said false or mostly false. 11% said yes and no. 20% said true or mostly true, and 12% werenít sure.

Again Ė when you are asking combat troops that question, a better question is one of ďin a firefight, as in beating a sniper location out of someoneĒ or in formal interrogation, like of prisoners at Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo. Iíd like to see how the numbers would change. The case of LTC West comes to mind.