A trio of completely unscientific polls indicate Roaring Fork Valley residents disagree with the rest of the United States on whether to invade Iraq.
The most unscientific poll was conducted via telephone by the Glenwood Springs Post Independent Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 p.m. This poll showed that 11 of the 12 guys at the American Legion Post 100 in Carbondale oppose war with Iraq. Nobody wanted to give his name to the Post Independent or be interviewed, although several were heard shouting about President Bush in the background.
Sopris Surfers, an Internet provider, conducted a poll that asked the question, “Should we invade Iraq without the approval of the United Nations?” The results showed that 66 percent of the respondents answered “No,” while 34 percent answered “Yes.”
A couple of local women, Amy Marsh and Sue Gray, took it upon themselves to conduct a poll in Glenwood Springs on Tuesday. Marsh said the question was worded, “Are you opposed to or in favor of violent intervention in Iraq.”
Of the 220 people contacted, 54 percent were opposed to intervention in Iraq, 19 percent didn’t know, 15 percent were in favor, and 10 percent didn’t respond.
“One guy said he didn’t care,” Marsh said.
President Bush has been making his pitch to U.S. citizens and the international community to invade Iraq as part of the war on terrorism. Many professional pollsters are saying that nationwide, the public favors an invasion, although the questions vary from poll to poll.
The most recent Newsweek poll asks, “In his fight against terrorism, the Bush administration has talked about using military force against Saddam Hussein and his military in Iraq. Would you support using military force against Iraq?” The poll said 63 percent of the respondents support military force, while 29 percent do not, and 8 percent don’t know.
A FOX News poll asks, “Do you support or oppose U.S. military action to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein?” The results show that 58 percent support military action, 27 percent oppose it, and 15 percent are not sure.
A CBS News poll asks, “Do you approve or disapprove of the United States taking military action against Iraq to try to remove Saddam Hussein from power?” A total of 68 percent approve, 26 percent disapprove, and 6 percent don’t know.
When asked why she and Gray decided to conduct their own poll, Marsh said she’d heard conflicting poll results, and “I’ve never been polled. … None of my friends have been polled. … I wanted to know how did I fit in, and how did Glenwood fit in.”
Marsh said she used the phrase “violent intervention” in the poll to keep from using the word “war.”
“War is an emotional word,” Marsh said.
Marsh and Gray conducted their poll from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. They started at the post office, then headed downtown, over the pedestrian bridge, then back across to Cooper Street and to the post office.
Marsh said they chose Glenwood, because it has a good cross section of tourists, with conservative and progressive residents.
Two of the respondents were lawyers. “They objected to the question as it was posed, but both were opposed to an intervention,” Marsh said.
Marsh is a card-carrying Green Party member who describes herself as a “progressive.” She’s not a member of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition. “They meet while I work, but I support what they do,” she said.
Marsh said many of the respondents made comments beyond answering the question. One woman, in her 30s, said she is opposed to intervention, and “I’m not nearly as worried about Saddam as I am (about) George.”
Another woman, in her late 20s, started by saying the United States should get the terrorists after what they did on Sept. 11. Marsh replied to the woman that it wasn’t Saddam Hussein who attacked the United States.
The woman then told Marsh, “Then I think we should get that bin Laden guy.”
Marsh replied, “But he’s not in Iraq.”
At that point, the woman bid Marsh adieu, and said she is very busy with her life and there are more things to worry about than what’s going on “on the outside.”
“And that seemed to be a very American comment,” Marsh said. “That to me is an American comment.”
Lynn Burton is a Post Independent staff writer. His column appears on Thursdays.
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