Zogby Poll

I’m sure you’ve seen this news item: Most U.S. troops in Iraq support withdrawal, poll finds

Does anyone know how to see the actual poll questions? We only get to see a summary of results.

I guess, for the most part, I’m not specifically trying to question the results, but what the poll says is almost 100% out of line with everything I’ve gathered over the past couple of years. Of course, critics of the invasion of Iraq will just nod their heads say that they’ve known about the propaganda all along, but a few items kind of have ol’ Murdoc scratching his head. First:

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Le Moyne College’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, showed that 29% of the respondents, serving in various branches of the armed forces, said the U.S. should leave Iraq “immediately,” while another 22% said they should leave in the next six months.

More than a quarter really think we should pull out completely and immediately? If you say so, but I’ve got to say that I’m a bit skeptical.


85% said the U.S. mission is mainly “to retaliate for Saddam’s role in the 9-11 attacks,” 77% said they also believe the main or a major reason for the war was “to stop Saddam from protecting al Qaeda in Iraq.”

This goes back to the old debate, and 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, and maybe I know all of them who know that no one said Saddam was involved in 9/11. I find this to be a very, very curious result.


“Ninety-three percent said that removing weapons of mass destruction is not a reason for U.S. troops being there,” said Pollster John Zogby, President and CEO of Zogby International. “Instead, that initial rationale went by the wayside and, in the minds of 68% of the troops, the real mission became to remove Saddam Hussein.”

I understand that this is a report on what the troops think and doesn’t reflect facts. But I would swear that this poll seems to almost completely fit in line with how anti-war/Liberal/defeatist/BDS-suffering folks have been trying to rewrite recent history. Anyone that paid any attention knows that the goal was the removal of Saddam Hussein’s regime and the disarmament of Iraq, including the destruction of any WMD stockpiles or programs that the UN had not been able to verify as gone. There wasn’t some big “switch” where all of a sudden regime change and democracy became primary reasons where they hadn’t been before.

All of this is quite debatable, due to the fact that we’re talking about opinions of individuals who may or may not be aware of many of the facts surrounding the given reasons for invading or staying in Iraq. But one final result just plain sounds UNBELIEVABLE to Murdoc:

Four in five said they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm and white phosphorous.

80% of US troops think we should not use Napalm and WP? Sorry. Murdoc is calling “bullshit” on this one. Until I see the actual question and have a chance to rethink my position in light of that information, I must go on record as stating that this result is an out-and-out L-I-E.

If the question was “should the US use napalm and WP on civilians” or “should the US use weapons that are banned by treaties we’ve signed”, maybe the 80% number is believable. But a “Should the US refrain from using weapons like napalm and WP” would get a result (by Murdoc’s estimates) in the low negative teens range. As in, a few respondents would answer “Not only should we NOT refrain, we should drop it twice. Or four times.”

Give me a break.

John at the Officer’s Club also is a bit skeptical. Murdoc freely acknowledges that, since he’s not in uniform, he might not have even the slightest clue.

John’s in uniform.

UPDATE: More here. I contacted Zogby via their website looking for the actual survey questions. I don’t expect an answer.

UPDATE: Much more, including the actual questions, here.


  1. I believe we should not use napalm. Fuel Air Explosives (FAE), slurry bombs like the BLU-82, and cluster bombs (some of which bounce up 6 feet before detonating)are all much more lethal. I’ve not heard anything about our forces not using these wonderful weapons.

  2. Four in five said they oppose the use of such internationally banned weapons as napalm and white phosphorous.’ [email protected][email protected]%*(!*!!! WHAT? Please point me to the relevant convention which bans either. I’ve read the Convention on .. Certain Conventional Weapons pretty much all the way through and not only does it not ban either, it specifically allows both. It does state that neither should be used on civilians. Presumably because both WERE used on civilians in WW2 with fairly nasty results (i.e. carpet bombing cities like Tokyo with incendiaries which basically destroyed them entirely). However in neither case does the convention say that these weapons can’t be used on legitimate targets. WHERE does this uninformed drivel come from? I was very, very suspect of this whole poll story since it doesn’t mesh with other poll results, nor with what military members have been saying to me, but that bit tells us what’s really going on here: the author is biased and trying to distribute lies.

  3. The full name of the convention, which is as far as I know the primary international convention dealing with conventional weapons, is ‘Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (with Protocols I, II and III)’. It’s on the UN web site here – but what exactly is a WPD file and what software do I use to open it? Anyway, the summary of Protocol III speaks for itself I think: ‘Protocol III on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons prohibits, in all circumstances, making the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects, the object of attack by any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat or a combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target.’ WP and Napalm (or more accurately jellied petroleum fire bombs) are both incendiary weapons. As you can see, the protocol prohibits speficially targetting civilians with incendiaries, or using them in cases where it’s likely to impact many civilians inadvertently. I remember that all smoke and light munitions are explicitly not counted, and I also remember that it says that incendiaries can be used on materiel and enemy troops so long as they’re not likely to cause a lot of civilian casualties. Note this bit: Incendiary weapons do not include: (i) Munitions which may have incidental incendiary effects, such as illuminants, tracers, smoke or signalling systems. I think the case is pretty clear that WP falls under that category. As for ‘napalm’, as I said the convention only really bans its use on civilians. Google for ‘convention certain conventional weapons’ and you should find some copies of it. Please let me know what I am misunderstanding or missing…

  4. Iraq is what it has always been, a staging area for the invasion of Iran. Our troops will leave if and only if Iran backs down on their quest for nuclear weapons. Short of that, and we’re there until the offensive is over and the nuclear facilities are dismantled. At that point, we will be able to withdraw from both countries.

  5. The story says ‘that initial rationale’ for invading Iraq was Saddam’s possession of weapons of mass destruction. Wrong. WMDs certainly weren’t the only initial reason for liberating Iraq. And if you look back at President Bush’s Sept. 12, 2002, speech to the United Nations, his first rationale for action against Saddam’s regime was the humanitarian obligation to end Saddam’s brutal repression of the Iraqi people. Bush told the U.N. that Saddam’s mistreatment of the Iraqis was a violation of U.N. Resolution 688, which demanded he end his repression. Then Bush went on to the other rationales, including Saddam’s failure to prove he had destroyed his weapons of mass destruction, Saddam’s harboring and funding of terrorists, and Saddam’s failure to return 600 Kuwaiti POWs. So was there only one ‘initial rationale’? And which rationale really was ‘initial’? I noticed that another story says three out of four troops interviewed by Zogby were men. Is this representative of the combat troops in Iraq? And you’re right, Murdoc. This whole poll depends on the wording of Zogby’s questions. Did Zogby ask, ‘Would it be best to have all U.S. troops home by the end of this year?’ Or, ‘Would you prefer to be home by the end of this year?’ Or, ‘Should all U.S. troops be withdrawn from Iraq by the end of 2006, even if they are needed in Iraq to finish the establishment of a stable democracy?’ Those three questions are similar, but each asks something very different from the others. Only one asks, ‘Should we withdraw no matter what?’ So what did Zogby ask?

  6. ‘Most U.S. troops in Iraq support withdrawal, poll finds’ Too bad the parents of the Liberal critics of the Iraq invasion and concocted this phony poll didn’t support withdrawl just prior to conception!

  7. You can get a copy of the results (including questions probably) for $20 at Zogby’s site.

  8. I would take this poll with a grain of salt. First off it was not random and second, it was conducted face to face, thus the potencial for bias is very high. Another Zoby poll – Zogby Poll: 53% of Americans Support Impeachment; ImpeachPAC Announced! See site: http://www.impeachpac.org/?q=node/6 Zogby on the cartoon riots – ‘…in soliciting and publishing the cartoons, the Jyllands-Posten sought both to ‘stick their finger in the eye’ of Muslims, and in doing so make them understand that, in effect, ‘you are our subjects and you will bend to our cultural values; we will not accommodate ourselves to yours.’ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-zogby/the-cartoon-controversy-_b_15436.html and just for fun – from an iterview with Zogby. I was a history professor and a liberal political activist…These setbacks [being fired from the national Arab American organization] being reinforced what I had learned at home from my father, a Lebanese immigrant who worked with his brothers in their grocery store 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., six days of the week. He taught me that a man can do anything he wants to do. He also taught me that if the customer wants it, find a way to do it.’ Source http://www.inc.com/magazine/20040601/howididit.html I think his words stand for them selves

  9. Chuck: I saw that deal, but it’s for an ‘Executive Summary’ and Murdoc’s not made of money. Does anyone know for sure if the actual questions are in this ‘Executive Summary’? Maybe I should try asking Zogby itself. James: I also saw that poll showing more than half of America supports impeachment. Again, that simply doesnt’ correspond to anything I’ve seen or heard myself.

  10. Nicholas: ‘but what exactly is a WPD file and what software do I use to open it?‘ Don’t open it! It ignites on contact with air! Er… actually, I think that’s a Word Perfect Document. You can read it with OpenOffice. (I just checked, and it works. OpenOffice is free, but a resource hog.)

  11. I’ve just taken a poll of my own, and 100% of people sitting at my computer believe this partisan poll is full of crap (moe +/- 5%).

  12. The question about WP and napalm throws them both in the same catagory as ‘banned weapons.’ From what I remember, our military agreed that napalm shouldn’t be used. So zogby includes a banned weapon into a question of ‘should we not used a banned weapon (napalm) and WP’ so when lots of people were forced to say yes to napalm or look like inhuman savage maniacs zogby could pretend that our military is 80% against using WP.

  13. 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.

  14. Mr. Wilner – heh, thanks, that makes sense. I wonder why they’re not distributing it in .rtf format, or something a bit more widely supported. jows – who or what has banned ‘napalm’? (By that I take it you mean fire-bombs in general). I’ve still yet to see the relevant convention. My understanding is that fire-bombs are generally considered acceptable in circumstances which necessitate them. I could have missed an update to some kind of protocol, but even so, I’m pretty sure the USA has not signed it since they have used some fire bombs in the last few years.

  15. The napalm thing again – I was on an Air Team in Gulf I. Napalm was still on our ordinance list, however, it really was not worth using; relatively small kill radius, unguided, dropped at only at low level, ineffective against armor. Too many better alternatives to bother using it often. We were never told it was banned or not available. Even against a flammable target such as a fuel dump, we would have used incendiary cluster bomb units.

  16. I suspect the poll is a complete fabrication. I’m in the polling business and there are standard procedures for verifying the accuracy of the poll. 1. The questions are always published along with the answers. Where is the questionnaire? 2. The location of the people being interviewed is always given. In this case how many interviews were done in Iraq? How many in the US? How many were conducted in Spanish (for those who don’t speak English)? How many were conducted with active duty personnel? How many in hospital? Who was present at the interview? Did Al Qaida provide the interviewers? 3. How many interviews were conducted with front line combat zone personnel? Because front line interviewing is very dangerous, interviewers are tempted to skip the interview and just make up the answers. What steps were taken to prevent fabrications. 4. Zogby Inc says all interviews were done in person. How many interviewers were there? When were the interviews done? What were the politics of the interviewers? Judging from their school, I’d suspect they were hostile to US personnel. 5. How many interviews were discarded and why? How were respondents selected? 6. Normally 50% of interviews in a study are verified. This means 50% of the respondents are recontacted and asked: – if they were interviewed -reasked certain key questions. -completely reinterviewed if incorrect answers found If 1 reinterview is done for an interviewer then all that interviewer’s work is verified and, if necessary, reinterviewed. If Zogby refuses to supply answers to these questions, then the poll is a fake.

  17. Zogby also states that they gave the job of data collection to a Lebanese organization called ‘Information International’. In Lebanon, Pew Research polls taken in 2002 showed a 73% support for suicide bombings ‘in defense of Islam’. Not exactly an unbiased labor pool. An examination of polls conducted by Information International shows a tendency to use skewed language in their questioning. For example, ‘A High Percentage of Americans Favor a Military Strike on Countries ‘Harboring Terrorists’ Even if it Entails the Death of Civilians. Do You Agree?’ The question, to be unbiased, should just read: ‘Do You Agree With Military Strikes Against Countries Harboring Terrorists?’. By making the question contingent on ‘what Americans think’, and by putting ‘harboring terrorists’ in quotes, the question asker is placing a negative slant on the question. Information International was not observed during its job, and there is no one to verify whether or not Zogby’s original questions were used, or were substituted for II’s more normal ‘creative’ language. It should be interesting to note that II’s other polls resulted in: 1) a plurality (30.6%) believe ISRAEL attacked the US on 9/11 2) 49.5% described America after the attacks as ‘defeated’ (4% said ‘Israeli’) 3) 16.8% felt ‘Happiness’ at news of the 9/11 attacks 4) 81% described Israel as a ‘sponsor country for terrorism’ 5) 53.8% stated that nations harboring terrorists should NOT turn them over 6) 32.3% declared a belief that the US would attack Lebanon As you can see, Information International has a fairly substantial record for producing polls that blame America and/or Israel for various problems. There are no polls available from their website (http://www.information-international.com/opinionpolls.php) which appear to seek a more moderate approach. Thus, Zogby ended up hiring a firm with a known history of biased polling to do research for a poll funded by an unnamed anti-war individual with a lot of money. I would consider any such poll done in this manner, regardless of whose side it served, to be, ah — suspect.