The election results in Iran may reflect the will of the Iranian people. Many experts are claiming that the margin of victory of incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was the result of fraud or manipulation, but our nationwide public opinion survey of Iranians three weeks before the vote showed Ahmadinejad leading by a more than 2 to 1 margin — greater than his actual apparent margin of victory in Friday’s election
While Western news reports from Tehran in the days leading up to the voting portrayed an Iranian public enthusiastic about Ahmadinejad’s principal opponent, Mir Hossein Mousavi, our scientific sampling from across all 30 of Iran’s provinces showed Ahmadinejad well ahead.
Independent and uncensored nationwide surveys of Iran are rare. Typically, preelection polls there are either conducted or monitored by the government and are notoriously untrustworthy. By contrast, the poll undertaken by our nonprofit organizations from May 11 to May 20 was the third in a series over the past two years. Conducted by telephone from a neighboring country, field work was carried out in Farsi by a polling company whose work in the region for ABC News and the BBC has received an Emmy award. Our polling was funded by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
The breadth of Ahmadinejad’s support was apparent in our preelection survey. During the campaign, for instance, Mousavi emphasized his identity as an Azeri, the second-largest ethnic group in Iran after Persians, to woo Azeri voters. Our survey indicated, though, that Azeris favored Ahmadinejad by 2 to 1 over Mousavi.
The Iranian people may be more radical than most think
How’s that for robust debate? It’s not like there was much of a choice, the lever had to be pulled for either hardliner 1 or hardliner 2, but nonetheless, the majority of the Iranian people are head over heels for the current Iranian “Holocaust denying” president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
Check out this poll conducted by a non-profit polling company which shows that Ahmadinejad has broad popular support, and indeed reflects the conventional view of the Islam of the Iranian people – they agree with his plans to attack Israel and Europe, they agree with his Islamic Shiite supremacism, as well as some agreeing with his twelver apocalypticism.
The notion that it’s just him and the top mullahs, and the Iranian populace is secretly reformist or some “moderate” form of Shia may not be true. Polls showed him 2 to 1 in the lead. I suspect if one had taken a poll of the Germans in 1939, a similar result would have resulted. KGS