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Bush Losing Ground in This Poll, Too


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Leaders of Iraq's religious parties have emerged as the country's most popular politicians and would win the largest share of votes if an election were held today, while the U.S.-backed government of interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi is losing serious ground, according to a U.S.-financed poll by the International Republican Institute.

 

{Religious Leaders Ahead in Iraq Poll

U.S.-Supported Government Losing Ground

Washington Post, Friday, October 22, 2004; Page A01}

 

More than 45 percent of Iraqis also believe that their country is heading in the wrong direction, and 41 percent say it is moving in the right direction.

 

Within the Bush administration, a victory by Iraq's religious parties is viewed as the worst-case scenario. Washington has hoped that Allawi and the current team, which was selected by U.S. and U.N. envoys, would win or do well in Iraq's first democratic election, in January. U.S. officials believe a secular government led by moderates is critical, in part because the new government will oversee writing a new Iraqi constitution.

 

"The picture it paints is that, after all the blood and treasure we've spent and despite the [u.S.-led] occupation's democracy efforts, we're in a position now that the moderates would not win if an election were held today," said a U.S. official who requested anonymity because the poll has not been released.

 

U.S. officials acknowledge that the political honeymoon after the handover of political power on June 28 ended much earlier than anticipated. The new poll, based on 2,000 face-to-face interviews conducted among all ethnic and religious groups nationwide between Sept. 24 and Oct. 4, shows that Iraqi support for the government has plummeted to about 43 percent who believe it is effective, down from 62 percent in a late-summer poll.

 

A senior State Department official played down the results. "When the interim government took over, the [poll] numbers were artificially high. It's very difficult to meet expectations when they're sky-high," he said on the condition of anonymity because the data are still being analyzed.

 

But in another blow, one out of three Iraqis blames the U.S.-led multinational force for Iraq's security problems, slightly more than the 32 percent who blame foreign terrorists, the poll shows. Only 8 percent blame members of the former government.

 

"We had convinced everyone -- Americans and Iraqis -- that things might change with the return of sovereignty, but, in fact, things went the other way," a congressional staff member said. "What's particularly damning is that the multinational force gets more blame than the terrorists for the problems in Iraq. It's all trending in the wrong way . . . and it's not likely we'll be able to change public sentiment much before the election. "

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  • 2 months later...

RE: Bush Losing Ground

 

>Intersting, of course, that the groundwork is clearly being

>laid to postpone the elections in Iraq. Anyone want to bet on

>it?

 

yes, in fact, Shrubyahoo has Katherine Harris and ken Blackwell on tap to head over to iraq to help the elections go off as planned, just as they did here.

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