Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Economy Surpasses Security In New Iraqi Opinion Poll

From December 22-30, 2009 the English based YouGov internet research firm conducted an opinion poll of 1,561 Iraqis from all of the country’s eighteen provinces that found that economic issues surpassed security as the main concern of those questioned. 21% said unemployment was the most important issue in Iraq currently, followed by 16% who said it was security, and 15% who said it was financial insecurity. The lack of jobs, services, and opportunities has long been an issue in Iraq even before the invasion as wars and the U.N. sanctions crippled the Iraqi economy. During the run-up to the 2005 and 2009 elections the same concerns were voiced, but security was a more important issue since Iraq was still in the throngs of an insurgency then. In a February 2009 poll done by ABC, NHK, and the BBC for example, lack of security and terrorist attacks were rated as the two biggest problems facing the country, while economic problems was tied for third. When asked what were the main issues the public faced personally however, high prices and lack of jobs were the top two responses.

Another question on how Iraq was doing overall found respondents almost evenly divided between pessimists and optimists. 46% said that Iraq was going in the wrong direction, while 44% said it was doing the opposite. In the ABC/NHK/BBC poll from February 2009 58% said that Iraq was doing good, while 40% said it was doing bad. The new results might reflect the lack of economic development and political progress in Iraq despite the improvement in security and the January 2009 provincial elections, along with the return of large-scale bombings in Baghdad that began in August 2009.

It should be noted that YouGov is limited to those with internet access, so that might skew the results towards middle to upper class Iraqis.

SOURCES

BBC, ABC, NHK, “Iraq Poll February 2009,” 3/16/09

Al-Wazzan, Saleem, “basra’s dominant parties expect to maintain power,” Niqash, 12/15/08

Zawya, “More Iraqis fear unemployment than security issues, YouGov Siraj research report reveals,” 1/12/10

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