Iraqi Poll Surprises
UPDATE: As Bill Quick and a number of others point out, the definition of “family” becomes important when analyzing the poll results. I suspect that an extended family of up to 100 members may meet the Iraqis’ definition rather than our norm of 2 adults and 2.2 children. The poll as posted by ORB is not clear.
Don’t let your neighborhood loony lib read this. His head might explode.
March 07 – Despite violence only 26% preferred life under Saddam
One in four (26%) Iraqi adults have had a family relative murdered in the last three years, while 23% of those living in Baghdad have had a family/relative kidnapped in the last three years.
These are the findings released today from the largest poll into Iraqi opinion ever to be published. Carried out by UK polling firm O.R.B., which has been tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005, the poll shows that despite the horrendous personal security problems only 26% of the country preferred life under the previous regime of Saddam Hussein, with 49% preferring life under the current political regime of Noori al-Maliki. As one may expect, it is the Sunnis who are most likely to back the previous regime (51%) with the Shias (66%) preferring the current administration.
Carried out amongst a nationally representative sample of 5,019 Iraqi adults aged 18yrs+ and coming just days before the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the poll reveals that despite the rising number of civilian deaths each month as a result of militia activity, only 27% would concede that their country is actually in a state of civil war. Opinion here is clearly divided, as 22% feel â€œwe are close to a state of civil war but not yet in oneâ€ while 18% argue that the country is â€œstill some way from civil warâ€.
Regionally, 43% of those in the Shia dominated South of the country claim â€œIraq will never get as far as civil warâ€. This figure in the Sunni dominated north plummets to 5% where most (42%) feel the country is already in a state of civil war.
Regionally there are significant differences on attitudes towards the relationship between the security situation and the presence of troops. Nationally, one in two (53%) feels that the security situation in Iraq will get better in the immediate weeks following a withdrawal of Multi National Forces.
However, those in the South appear to be more ready to accept a gradual withdrawal than those in the North. 69% of the Shia dominated South feel the situation will get a great deal/little better, while only 10% feel it will get worse. In the Sunni north, opinion is evenly divided â€“ 46% feel it will get better and 37% feel it will get worse.
What about talk of creating a federal Iraq? With the exception of the Kurdish population in the North of the country, a majority support Iraq remaining as a single country run by a central national government. On this point Sunnis (57%) and Shias (69%) agree that the country should continue as one nation.
The opinion poll was conducted by O.R.B. and the survey details are as follows:
â€¢Results are based face-to-face interviews amongst a nationally representative sample of 5,019 adults aged 18+ throughout Iraq.
â€¢The standard margin of error on the sample size is +1.4%
â€¢The methodology uses multi-stage random probability sampling and covers every one of the eighteen governorates within Iraq.
â€¢Interviews conducted 10th â€“ 22nd February 2007.
From the final tables [pdf file]:
- President George Bush has announced that he will be sending 20,000+ troops to Iraq in the coming months? Why do you think he is doing this? 33% say to bring security and stability back to Iraq. 27% don’t know, refused or did not answer. 22% said to attack neighboring countries
- And thinking ahead, do you believe that the security situation in Iraq will get better or worse in the immediate weeks following a withdrawal of Multi National Forces? 63% said a great deal or a little better.
- Noori Al-Maliki’s government has announced a new security plan which they say will disarm all Militias. Do you believe that it will do so? 45% say yes. 22% say no.
- Do you have any members of your family that have left Iraq over the previous four years as a result of the security situation? 72% said no. 9% said moved to Kurdish areas.
- Taking everything into account, do you feel that things are better for you now under the present political system or do you think thinks were better for you before under the previous regime of Saddam Hussein? 49% said better now. 26% said better under Saddam. 16% said neither.
- If I asked you about your religion, what do you prefer your answer to be? 61% said Muslim.
The poll suggests several conclusions.
- The majority of Iraqis think of themselves as Muslim first, and not Sunni or Shia.
- A significant number of Iraqis don’t know why we are doing the surge.
- Iraqis believe things will get better after we leave.
- Iraqis have a great deal of belief that the current government will do what it says it will.
- Massive numbers of Iraqis are not fleeing the country or becoming internal refugees.
- About half of Iraqis believe things are better now. Only a quarter still pine for the good old days.
There are many statistics that are of interest in the poll. Employment status, for one, seems better than we have heard. I am especially heartened by the finding that Iraqis think of themselves as Muslim first and not Sunni or Shia. I am also delighted to observe that Iraqis support a single state / central government.
This entry was posted on Saturday, March 17th, 2007 at 9:54 pm and is filed under Original writing, Analysis, War on Terror, Iraq, Original writing, War on Terror. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.