Friday, January 21, 2005

Courageous Iraqis

The Washington Post reported today on the latest in a series of polls taken of Iraqi citizens:

An overwhelming majority of Iraqis continue to say they intend to vote on Jan. 30 even as insurgents press attacks aimed at rendering the elections a failure, according to a new public opinion survey.

The poll, conducted in late December and early January for the International Republican Institute, found 80 percent of respondents saying they were likely to vote, a rate that has held roughly steady for months.

Before Democratic knees start jerking because of the word "Republican," I'll say something about the International Republican Institute (IRI). IRI and it's parallel organization, the National Democratic Institute (NDI), are significant players in international development, with much of their funding coming from USAID. They specialize in democracy and governance, and each has a well-earned reputation for professionalism and nonpartisanship. I don't think you can go wrong taking anything IRI or NDI says at face value.

Eighty percent. Think about it. That kind of potential turnout in a national free election is remarkable, even if the actual turnout is somewhat lower. And this is in spite of a determined Islamist terrorist effort to threaten and intimidate Iraqis to prevent them from voting. How many Americans would be willing to literally risk their lives to vote?


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