Washington, DC – On the eve of Iraq’s historic elections for a permanent national assembly, a new IRI poll found that 93 percent of Iraqis intend to vote on Thursday.  This is up eight points from the poll taken in early November.  In contrast to the January 2005 elections, a solid majority of voters in Sunni provinces now plan to participate in the democratic process.

A majority of Iraqis, 53 percent, cited the issue of security, the performance of the current government, party platforms, or the quality of individual candidates as the most important factors in determining their vote.

As Iraqis prepare to head back to the polls for the third time this year, their level of optimism remains high.  For the second month in a row, 49 percent of poll respondents said that the country is headed in the right direction.  As with the poll taken in early November, freedom and democracy were most cited as the reason the country is headed in the right direction.  Iraqis also cite the existence of a nationally elected government, and the upcoming elections as reasons why the country is moving in the right direction.

In looking at the priorities for the incoming Council of Representatives, 61 percent of Iraqis think infrastructure and economic development should be the government’s top priorities.  By a margin of 17 points (44 percent to 27 percent), Iraqis also believe their new constitution needs to be amended.  A majority (54 percent) of those who believe the constitution needs to be amended cite federalism and regional autonomy as their primary concern.

More than 2,700 face-to-face interviews were conducted from November 30, 2005-December 7, 2005. Interviews were conducted in 17 of Iraq’s 18 governorates.  The margin of error is plus or minus three percent.

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