Wednesday, October 6, 2010

June 2010 Poll Finds Iraqis Have Mixed Views About Their Country

In June 2010, the International Republican Institute conducted a poll of 2,988 Iraqis on contemporary issues. The survey was held from June 3-13. The results were weighted based upon each province’s voting population, and the gender and ethnosectarian breakdown of the country. The results were recorded for the country as a whole, as well as for six regions, Kurdistan, the disputed territories, the northern triangle, the southern belt, Baghdad, and Basra. Kurdistan consisted of the three provinces of Sulaymaniya, Dohuk, and Irbil, the disputed territories were Ninewa and Tamim, the northern triangle was Anbar, Salahaddin, and Anbar, while the southern belt was made up of Babil, Najaf, Karbala, Maysan, Muthanna, Qadisiyah, Dhi Qar, and Wasit. Overall, the Republican Institute found that Iraqis have mixed views of their current political and economic situation, and the future.

59% of Iraqis said that Iraq was going in the wrong direction. In December 2009 51% said that it was going in the right direction. When broken down by region, the northern triangle at 67% and Basra at 71% had the most negative opinions of the country’s situation. Only in the southern belt did 51% feel that Iraq was doing well, compared to 49% who said otherwise. When broken down by ethnosectarian identity all three groups had a bad view of Iraq, with Sunni Arabs having the worst view at 68% negative, while Shiite Arabs were at 52%, and Kurds at 56%.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
When asked what was the biggest problem in the country 66% said it was the lack of services. Security was second at 24%, and unemployment third at 8%. That was a sharp change from December 2009 when 43% said security was the most pressuring issue, followed by services, 23%, and unemployment 11%. Only in the northern triangle was security, 43%, close to services, 44% in the 2010 poll.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
When asked about security, 73% said the situation had gotten better over the last year, with only 23% saying it had gotten worse. That was a slight drop from December 2009 when 81% said things had gotten better, compared to 18% who said it was worse.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
The poll then asked Iraqis what they thought of their institutions. 61% said they approved of the national government. The disputed territories, 68%, and Baghdad 66%, had the most positive views of the government, with Kurdistan, 48%, and the northern triangle 53%, having the lowest positive ratings. The Army and police were also held in high regard. 73% said they approved of the Army, and 68% said the same of the police. The Kurdistan Regional Government engendered a much more mixed view with 48% disapproving, compared to 35% that approved. Kurdistan obviously, was the only part of the country with an overwhelming positive view at 83%. That compared to 54% with a negative view in the disputed territories, 49% in Baghdad, and 50% in Basra. The new Iraqi parliament also got mixed reviews. 38% approved of it, 37% disapproved, and 25% didn’t know yet. Kurdistan, 49%, the northern triangle, 40%, and the southern belt, 41%, had positive views of the new legislature, compared to 57% with a negative view in Basra. Provincial councils were given the same ranking with 50% approving, and 43% disapproving. Kurdistan, 60%, the disputed territories, 52%, the northern triangle, 53%, and the southern belt, 51%, all had positive views, while Baghdad, 44%, and Basra, 63%, disapproved of their local representatives.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
The March 2010 parliamentary elections were also addressed. 67% said they were free and fair, with 27% dissenting. The disputed territories had the smallest gap between the two with 50% saying they were fair, and 47% saying they weren’t. When questioned about what issue influenced their vote the most, 24% said ethnicity, and 17% said religion. That was 41% who were influenced by their ethnosectarian identity. That compared to 24% who said individual candidates, 19% who said incumbents, and 8% who said party platform, 44% total, were more important. That showed that political concerns were almost dead even with religion and sect. When broken down by group, Kurds said ethnicity, 57%, and religion, 12%, influenced them the most. For Sunni Arabs, candidates, 32%, incumbents, 23%, and parties, 7%, 62% total, and Shiite Arabs, candidates, 25%, incumbents, 21%, and parties, 6%, 52% total, had larger impacts. 74% said that it was important that Iyad Allawi, who won the most seats in the election, be included in a new government. That idea was supported in all six regions. Conversely, 56% said that if Allawi were not included in a new government it would be illegitimate, compared to 31% who said it would. That opinion held true in all regions, except for the southern belt where 50% said a government would still be legitimate without Allawi, compared to 42% who said it would not.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
The economic situation was tackled next. 56% thought the economy was doing badly compared to 43% who thought it was doing well. The disputed territories was the only region that thought differently with 50% thinking the economy was doing well. The northern triangle had the most negative view with 69% saying things were going badly. At the same time, when they were asked about their personal financial situation, 55% said things were better, compared to 37% who said they were doing worse. Again, the northern triangle was the only part of the country that felt their situation had gotten worse at 54%, compared to 42% who said things were better. When asked about the future, 63% thought they would do better next year, compared to only 13% who thought they would do worse. That was an overwhelming feeling in all parts of Iraq, even in the northern triangle.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Iraqis were then asked about individual issues in Iraq. Electricity, unemployment, corruption, and water/sewage were all seen as getting worse over the last year. 60% said electricity, 63% said unemployment, 62% said corruption, and 52% said water and sewage had all declined. Only wages and salaries were seen as improving with 36% saying it was better, and 19% worse. Kurdistan was the only region that had a slightly different view from the rest of the country. For electricity, 60% said it had improved with 32% saying it had gotten worse, and 60% said water and sewage had gotten better, with 25% saying it had gotten worse. That was likely due to new power plants opening in Kurdistan in 2009 that boosted its electricity supply.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Finally, the issues of regionalism and centralism were addressed. 63% said that oil revenues should go to the central government. Predictably, Kurdistan was the only part of the country that disagreed at 62%. When asked which should be stronger, 63% said the central government compared to 33% who said the provincial government. Kurdistan was the exception with 80% saying the provinces compared to 15% who said the central government.
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
Click on image for larger view
Source: Republican Institute
What the Republican Institute’s poll shows is that Iraq is divided on many issues. Iraqis feel that their own personal situation has improved, but they are upset with the government’s inability to provide services, and are apprehensive about the economy. The lack of consistent electricity, water, etc. now outweighs security as the main issue on Iraqis’ minds. At the same time, the central government, Army, and police were all held in high regard. This points to a disconnect in public opinion. On the one hand, many citizens think that their government is inept, corrupt, and can’t provide enough jobs, yet still think overall the central government should have more power, get all the oil revenue, and approve of the institution. They think they’ve improved financially, and will continue into the next year, but at the same time, believe that the overall economy is doing poorly. It appears that depending on how a question is posed, an Iraqi will have very different views of the same issue, and those differences defy easy categorizations such as local and national.

SOURCES

International Republican Institute, “Survey of Iraqi Public Opinion, June 3 – July 3, 2010,” 9/16/10

Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, “Quarterly Report to the United States Congress,” 10/30/09

4 comments:

amagi said...

Thanks for posting this. It all makes sense to me with one exception -- what problems does Basrah have with their local officials? Is there a big story that I've been missing?

Joel Wing said...

Amagi,

I haven't heard anything specifically, but I would assume that the demonstrations against electricity this summer in Basra were not just about Baghdad and the Electricity Ministry, but disatissfaction with their own provincial council as well not being able to provide services.

Don Cox said...

Iraqis may approve of the government in the sense that it is much better than either US occupation or the Saddam regime, while still thinking it could do much better on services and corruption.

No doubt many who happily take bribes themselves will still complain about corruption generally.

Joel Wing said...

Good point Don

Mosul Campaign Day 190, Apr 24, 2017

Federal Police mortar position east Mosul (Reuters) The Joint Operations Command announced that only 30% of wes...