Polling Iraq

POLLING IRAQ….The Washington Post quotes three different polling firms today who say that by a wide margin Iraqis want American troops to leave:

In Baghdad, for example, nearly three-quarters of residents polled said they would feel safer if U.S. and other foreign forces left Iraq, with 65 percent of those asked favoring an immediate pullout, according to State Department polling results obtained by The Washington Post.

….Another new poll, scheduled to be released on Wednesday by the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, found that 71 percent of Iraqis questioned want the Iraqi government to ask foreign forces to depart within a year.

….The director of another Iraqi polling firm, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he feared being killed, said public opinion surveys he conducted last month showed that 80 percent of Iraqis who were questioned favored an immediate withdrawal.

The PIPA poll suggests that Sunnis are a little less likely than Shiites to want U.S. troops to withdraw, which isn’t surprising since they’re the ones who would be massively outnumbered if we left. The State Department poll, however, doesn’t appear to bear this out, showing a stronger desire for U.S. withdrawal in mixed areas than in predominantly Shiite areas.

Overall, though, the results are clear and discouraging for “stay the course” fans. The Iraqi leadership may be reluctant to see us go, but what are the odds that an occupation force can succeed in quelling violence if three-quarters of the population wants them to leave?