On the eve of Saddam Hussein's re-election bid, the most recent polls of the Iraqi electorate show that the race is still too close to call, with Saddam garnering over 99% support in Tuesday's upcoming 'up-or-down' election.
In what Iraqi political experts are calling a "toss-up," polling data reveals that Saddam's tenuous lead falls within the poll's margin of error of about 100%.
The poll, conducted in face-to-face street interviews with 692 respondents, attempted to reproduce actual polling place experience by conducting the interviews under the most intimidating circumstances possible. The great bulk of the interviews were held in the presence of armed Iraqi soldiers or in secret at gunpoint, under the threat of death by Iraqi government officials, said the Iraqi polling firm, Yes, Yes, Yes, Saddam! Associates Ltd.
Saddam barely won his last election in 1995 with only 99.96% of the vote.
The election, in which ballot will feature only Saddam's name, is expected to turn out over 11 million voters.
Reports that the Iraqi regime manipulates food rations for families as a means of coercion is waived off by one Iraqi governmental official as "mere circumstantial happenstance."
"The withholding of food, to the extent that it happens, in no way influences Saddam's support," said the unidentified official.
Another unidentified Iraqi official strongly disagreed with the notion that the Iraqi government's intimidation played a part in Saddam's support.
"You Americans have no sense of humor," said the official.
"Saddam is not intimidating the Iraqi people into voting for him; he is only joking with the people because he loves them so," he asserted. "The Iraqi people know this; it makes them happy to have such a great, yet jovial man leading our country."