Friday, January 16, 2009

October 2008 Defense Department Public Opinion Poll Of Iraqis On Security

The Defense Department released its latest quarterly report to Congress on Iraq in mid-January 2009. Like the August 2008 one it included a public opinion poll of Iraqis conducted in October 2008 on security. Like that previous report the Iraqi Army and police scored high in terms of confidence, 85% and 81% respectively, and winning against terrorism, 70%, and crime, 61%. At the same time, only 40% said they would go the police if they saw a crime, while 31% said they would go the Army. Also, a little over a third said that the security forces were most responsible for security in their neighborhood. The numbers for the police actually declined compared to August 2008 and November 2007 polls. The U.S. only scored 2% in that category, joining tribes 7%, Sons of Iraq 6%, neighbors 3%, religious leaders 3%, and militias 1% in single digits. Those groups did much better in terms of confidence, with 26% saying they trusted the U.S. to protect them, compared to 12% for armed groups and 12% for militias. Those polled also feel safe in their own neighborhoods, 76%, but only 28% said Iraq was calm and 45% said the country was stable. Around two-thirds of respondents trusted all levels of government from the local to national to protect them, but only 43% said that it was effective. The level of trust in government was also down from the November 2007 poll. Below are the results of the October 2008 poll compared to the August 2008 and November 2007 surveys also done by the Pentagon.

Security In Neighborhood
  • 76% said security in their neighborhood was calm, compared to 73% in Aug. 08 and 61% in Nov. 07
  • 57% said security was calm in their province
  • 89% said security stayed the same or improved in their neighborhood over the last 6 months, which was a decrease from 91% in Aug. 08, but up from 82% in Nov. 07
  • 42% said they feel safe traveling outside of their neighborhoods, a 3% increase from Nov. 07

Security Across Iraq
  • 28% said Iraq was calm across the country, up from 21% in Aug. 08 and 23% in Nov. 07
  • 83% said security was the same or improved in the country, up from 79% in Aug. 08 and 81% in Nov. 07
  • 45% said Iraq was stable, up from 41% in Aug. 08 and 28% in Nov. 08

Opinions On Iraqi Security Forces
  • 65% said they feel secure around the Iraqi Army in their neighborhood, same as in Aug. 08, and up 14% from Nov. 07
  • 61% said feel secure around police in their neighborhood, the same as Aug. 08, and up 8% from Nov. 07
  • 85% said they trust the Iraqi Army to protect them, up from 84% in Aug. 08
  • 81% said they trust the police to protect, the same as Aug. 08
  • 70% said the Iraqi Army was winning the war against terrorists, up from 68% in Aug. 08, and 52% in Nov. 07
  • 61% said the police were winning against crime, up from 58% in Aug. 08 and 60% in Nov. 07
  • 37% said the Iraqi Army was most responsible for security in their neighborhood, compared to 35% in Aug. 08, and 25% in Nov. 07
  • 36% said the police were most responsible for security in their neighborhood, down from 38% in Aug. 08 and 43% in Nov. 07
  • 40% said they would go to the police if they witnessed a crime
  • 31% said they would go to the Army if they saw a crime

Opinions On The Government Providing Security
  • 68% said they trust the provincial government to protect them, the same as Aug 08, but a decrease from 77% in Nov. 07
  • 66% said they trust the national government to protect them, up from 63% in Aug. 08, but down from 68% in Nov. 07
  • 64% said they trust the local government to protect them, up from 62% in Aug. 08, but down from 79% in Nov. 07
  • 43% said the government was effective in providing security, up 5% from Nov. 07

Opinions Of Other Groups And Security
  • 7% said tribes were most responsible for security, up from 5% in Aug. 08
  • 6% said the Sons of Iraq were most responsible for security, down from 7% in Aug. 08, but up from 2% in Nov. 07
  • 3% said neighbors were most responsible for security, the same as Aug. 08
  • 3% said religious leaders were most responsible for security, up 1% from Aug. 08
  • 2% said the Multi-National Forces were most responsible for security, down from 3% in Aug. 08
  • 1% said militias were most responsible for security
  • 26% said they trust the Multi-National Force to protect them, up from 24% in Aug. 08
  • 12% said they trust armed groups to protect them, down from 13% in Aug. 08 and 29% in Nov. 07
  • 12% said they trust militias to protect them, same as Aug. 08, but down from 16% in Nov. 07

For more on Iraqi public opinion see:

Iraqi Al-Amal Association and Baghdad University’s Public Opinion Poll On Poverty In Iraq

Iraq Center for Research & Strategic Studies’ Survey Of Iraqis

Pentagon Public Opinion Poll of Iraqis

SOURCES

Department of Defense, “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,” September 2008
- “Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq,” December 2008

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