Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Although Iraqis are divided on whether their country is currently better (42 percent) or worse (39 percent) off than before the invasion, “there is striking optimism regarding the country's long-term future” after June 30.

Nearly two-thirds of all Iraqis say they believe their country will be either somewhat or much better off five years from now than it is at present, “while just one Iraqi in 10 foresees the country being worse off five years hence.”

Also worth noting: “the fact that these positive expectations were expressed by Shiites and Sunnis alike.” Only 12 percent say they expected Iraq to be worse off five years from now.

A public opinion poll of Iraqis done by Oxford Analytica (and touted by the U.S. government) showed similar results: a majority of Iraqis feel that they are better off today than they were a year ago. And 70 percent said they think they'll be even better off in 2005.

Americans are a notoriously optimistic people. Are we exporting optimism with our fifths of Jack? As we prepare for this fall’s big vote, and amid otherwise gloomy current polling on Iraq, Americans at the least seem to share the Iraqis’ rosy view of the future.

A Washington Post poll in May found 62 percent hopeful about Iraq, but 67 percent worried. Over half say they’re optimistic about the situation in Iraq.

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