I believe that the main flaw in the poll, is that it is not a ‘public opinion’ poll about a far away or abstract policy. It is a poll of the people who are carrying out that policy. The results of that poll are less likely to be about the policy, than about their unique personal circumstances.
For decades one of the time honored traditions of the U.S. military is for troops to complain about their circumstances. A grunt ain’t happy if he ain’t complaining….
So what happens when you take troops, who are deployed from their families for months on end (sometimes multiple times), living in field conditions, risk getting shot at, risk getting bombed, and oh did I mention being deployed from their families for months on end, and ask them when troops should leave Iraq? What happens is those troops are going to answer the question as if it were a personal question, not a policy one.
You might as well as ask “When do you think you should go home?” What do you think the answer is going to be?
Now, I wanted to bring up the tradition of griping and all, but Murdoc’s just a dumb civie. Major Chaz, on the other hand, is not. He’s been there and done that and offers a bit of insight. Go read.
Also, Jason at Generation Why let me know that only a couple of the actual questions were spelled out in the $19.95 Executive Summary. I’m glad he let me know, because I was going to invest a bit of Murdoc Money in the report and give you all a full rundown. Apparently, though, there isn’t a whole lot to show. That’s too bad.
Take, for instance, today Gallup Poll results: Majority of NOLA Residents Approve of Mayor’s Response to Katrina. Now, Murdoc doesn’t really agree with much of what the poll says New Orleans folks think. But there’s a fair amount of detail in how the results are presented, including a significant amount of demographic info (such as the difference between what white and black residents thought of the “chocolate city” remark) which can often tell us a lot.
Now, the Gallup analysis does leave a lot to be desired, but it’s light-years ahead of what we get from Zogby.
UPDATE: Just got this as a comment on my post from last night:
You said: “I’ve got to say that I don’t know a single serviceman or servicewoman who thinks we invaded Iraq to retaliate for Saddam’s role in 9/11. Now, I don’t know an awful lot of them.”
I do know a lot of them, since I am one. I don’t know a single one who thinks that way either. I’ve never heard Soldiers talk that way on their own, and I have never heard officers talk to the troops in those terms. I’ll admit that I haven’t been to Iraq since 2003, but I was in the initial invasion force and we didn’t think or talk that way back then. I can’t imagine why troops would think MORE in that direction now than three years ago.
UPDATE: Much more, including the actual questions, here.