POLL: BOTH US AND IRAQ CITIZENS GIVE WAR A THUMBS-DOWN
On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq, polls in both countries reflect a dissatisfied electorate.
In Iraq, citizens feel that their lives have been "torn apart" -- due to street violence and a sputtering economy. Half believe that the country is either in a state of civil war or close to it.
In the US, half of Americans in the "50 and over" age group now oppose the war, contrasted with only 15 percent four years ago. Four years ago, almost three-quarters of Americans supported the invasion; today only a third do.
President Bush continues to insist that the war "can be won" and that any troop withdrawal would be "devastating" to US security. Most Iraqis, however, believe their domestic violence will "get better" after withdrawal. (pdf, Table 2).
A British market research firm, Opinion Research Business, conducted a face-to-face poll of 5,000+ Iraqis in February. In addition to finding overwhelming support (53 percent to 26 percent) for foreign troop withdrawal, the firm found that 27 percent of Iraqis believe that the country is "in a state of civil war" and 22 percent believe that it is "close" to civil war; 14 percent did not answer. Nevertheless, half say that they prefer the current regime to that of Saddam Hussein.
The respondents were primarily unemployed (59 percent to 40 percent). On the question of religion, 61 percent self-identified as "Muslim" -- 24 percent as "Shia Muslim" -- and 14 percent as "Sunni Muslim." When asked specifically about doctrine, most who answered said "Sunni" (46 percent).