BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 23 — After five months of foreign military occupation and the ouster of Saddam Hussein, nearly two-thirds of Baghdad residents believe that the removal of the Iraqi dictator has been worth the hardships they have been forced to endure, a new Gallup poll shows.

Despite the systemic collapse of government and civic institutions, a wave of looting and violence, and shortages of water and electricity, 67 percent of 1,178 Iraqis told a Gallup survey team that within five years, their lives would be better than before the American and British invasion.

Hmm. Polls are iffy, and polls in former dictatorships moreso. On the other hand, things are better elsewhere in the country, suggesting that there might actually be more enthusiasm overall. Ambit has links to other polls from Iraq, showing generally similar sentiments.

Wonder if this will get as much prominence on the evening news as a domestic poll showing that 66% of Americans disapproved of the war would. . . .?

UPDATE: Reader Ben Dolfin adds an interesting gloss:

You make a good point about the accuracy of polls in former dictatorships, but you missed an interesting clue. Based on who they pander too with their answers we can tell they know who is in charge and who will be in charge for the forseeable future. I’d be more worried if they still wanted to sacrifice their blood and souls for Saddam, that’d mean they think he’ll be back in charge soon.

So if they’re telling the truth then it’s a good thing, and if they’re lying to us at least they are kissing our butt instead of Saddam’s.

Good point.