Washington, DC – An IRI poll conducted from December 26, 2004-January 7, 2005 shows that anticipated participation numbers among Iraqis remain consistent with over 80 percent stating that they are very likely or somewhat likely to vote on January 30.  It also shows that Iraqis remain optimistic about the future of their country as they anticipate their first post-Saddam democratic elections on January 30.

“Despite the efforts of the terrorists, Iraqis remain committed to casting their vote on election day,” said Lorne Craner, president of IRI.  “We are also encouraged by the polls’ indications that more than 50 percent of those Iraqis who live in the Sunni areas and nearly 50 percent of Iraq’s Sunni population are likely or somewhat likely to vote.”

The political vacuum that has existed since the fall of Saddam Hussein continues to shrink as Iraqis choose from 111 registered political parties, individuals or coalitions for the Transitional National Assembly elections.  The most recent results indicated 45 percent of Iraqis currently support a political party or feel there is one that shares their values or ideas – a three-fold increase from May.

Supporting the participation numbers and increase in political identification is a marked increase in awareness of the upcoming elections.  More than 80 percent of those surveyed have heard or read about the elections in the media and almost three-quarters believe that Iraq will be prepared to hold elections by the January 31 deadline.  Another 70 percent of Iraqis polled received their voter registration information and nearly 60 percent of Iraqis could correctly identify Iraq’s poll date.

Iraqis remain generally optimistic as 48.60 percent cited that the country is heading in the right direction against 39.40 percent saying wrong direction.  On a regional basis, the coming elections are driving optimism to levels above 60 percent in southern areas of the country, Mid-Euphrates and the Kurdish North.

Though security remains a crucial concern to Iraqis, economic issues continue to grow in importance most notably unemployment, infrastructure development and reconstruction, and perceived rising prices. While concerns about the economy rise, the survey also found that the government is credited with improving salaries and the overall economic environment.

More than 1,900 face-to-face interviews were conducted from December 26, 2004-January 7, 2005. Interviews were conducted in 16 of the 18 governorates.  The margin of error is plus or minus three percent.

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