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Survey Shows Optimism Among Iraqis

July 8, 2004

Washington, DC – In a poll, recently fielded by IRI, Iraqis reveal they are optimistic about the future and the opportunity for building a democratic Iraq is not as obscure as some seem to portray.  On the contrary, there is a good deal that can be accomplished.

The poll showed that nearly three-quarters of Iraqis believe the handover of authority to the Interim Government will improve the current situation.  This optimism carries over into opinions about the future, with nearly 65 percent of respondents believing things will be better in Iraq one year from now, as opposed to 15 percent believing things will be worse.

Support for elections is near universal with approximately 90 percent stating that they would vote if an election were held today.  More than half expressed a preference for voting directly for individual candidates as opposed to a system whereby the electorate votes for political parties alone. 

The survey also found that security, the economic status of individuals and families, and infrastructure eclipse all other issues with more than 60 percent of Iraqis listing those issues among their top three concerns.  Beyond identifying problems, respondents were asked to select workable solutions to these problems.  For example, on the topic of security, more than 40 percent cumulatively saw the solution first in recruiting and training more police, followed by disarming militias and improving border controls (i.e. strong identification with outsiders as being responsible for instability).  On the economic front, respondents overwhelmingly cited job creation as the most effective solution for Iraq’s current economic woes.

Comprising 2,200 household interviews (1,920 valid interviews post-data cleaning) covering all 18 governorates, IRI’s poll is among the largest, nationwide surveys taken in Iraq in recent months, with a margin of error of +/-2.4 percent.  Importantly, this survey also included a 25 percent rural sampling (drawn from all 18 governorates) making it the first nation-wide poll to do so – all previous surveys focused, for practical reasons, solely on urban areas.  The survey was in the field from May 27-June 11, 2004, immediately preceding and following the announcement of Iraq’s Interim Government.