Thursday, March 15, 2012

Iraqis Generally Unhappy With The State Of Their Country In New Opinion Poll


The Gallup company conducted a public opinion poll in Iraq in September 2011. It released the first batch of results in January 2012, and has just put out more in March. The new report focuses upon views of the government, the judiciary, and the standard of living of people living outside the three Kurdish provinces in the north. Hardly any of those issues received positive responses from participants. This is just the latest survey to show the increasingly negative opinions that Iraqis have of their situation.

Iraqi opinion of the government was deeply divided based upon which sect responded. For Shiites, 57% said they were confident in Baghdad, compared to just 13% for Sunnis. The Shiite-led National Coalition made up of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law, the Sadrists, the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, the Badr Brigade, the Fadhila Party, and others were the ones that put the government together in late-2010. During that process the premier has consistently been able to outplay the Iraqi National Movement, which received the majority of Sunni votes in the country. That could account for the wide disparity in people’s opinion about the government.

Are you confident in the Iraqi government?

Shiites
Sunnis
Feb. 2009
78%
29%
Sep. 2010
42%
27%
March 2011
40%
25%
Sep. 2011
57%
13%

Views of the government have also not remained consistent. For Shiites, they were highly confident in the authorities back in February 2009, with 78% having a positive view of them. That was just after provincial elections, which many considered a successful balloting process as parties peacefully give up power to the new winners. That dipped down to 42% in September 2010, and then 40% in March 2011. For Sunnis, they consistently had bad views of the government starting with 29% in February 2009, than going down slightly to 27% in September 2010 and 25% in March 2011, before taking a large drop to 13% in September 2011. 2010 to early-2011 was when Iraq’s parties were bickering over the parliamentary elections and putting together a new government. That could account for why opinions of both Shiites and Sunnis went down during that period. The fact that the National Coalition came out on top might also be the reason for Shiites to improve their view, while Sunnis’ went down by September 2011.

Are you confident in Iraq’s judicial system?

Shiites
Sunnis
Mid-2009
52%
54%
Feb. 2010
62%
47%
Sep. 2010
58%
40%
Mar. 2011
47%
23%
Sep. 2011
60%
24%

Similar split opinions were voiced when people were asked about Iraq’s courts. 60% of Shiites said they were confident in the judiciary, compared to just 24% for Sunnis. Both groups started off relatively positive about the courts in Mid-2009 with 52% for Shiites and 54% for Sunnis. Sunni views then consistently went down, while Shiites’ went up and down. While some Shiites might see the courts as simply conducting their duties, in the charged political atmosphere Iraq has been in since the run-up to the 2010 parliamentary elections, some Sunnis could see the judiciary as coming under the sway of Premier Maliki. He has increasingly been able to exert his will upon the courts, receiving various positive rulings in his favor. That could have turned many Sunni views against them.

Are you satisfied with your standing of living?

Yes
No
Feb. 2010
46%
49%
Aug. 2010
47%
50%
Sep. 2010
50%
49%
Mar. 2011
37%
57%
Sep. 2011
32%
64%

Next, Gallup asked people about their standard of living and services they received. When questioned about their living conditions, 32% said they were satisfied compared with 64% who said they were not. This was a change from 2010 when Gallup conducted three separate polls that found people almost evenly split in each one. In February 2010 for instance, 46% said they were satisfied, while 49% said they weren’t. By March 2011, opinion had flipped with only 37% feeling satisfied, and 57% being unsatisfied. Similar negative opinions were voiced about services in the area they lived in. For education, only 34% were satisfied. 25% were satisfied with their health care, 18% with roads, and only 10% with job opportunities in the latest survey. All of those were lower then when asked those same questions in February 2009. For instance, 66% were satisfied with the education system then. The government has consistently failed to improve services in the country. It is not able to fund enough schools to meet demand for example. That’s because the bureaucracy simply doesn’t have the capacity nor know how to implement many of its development plans, plus corruption is always there to eat away at any project. The 2009 and 2010 elections have not improved this situation at all, which might be why opinions have dropped for the four areas asked about in the Gallup poll.

% of people unsatisfied with services in the city in which they live

Education
Healthcare
Roads
Feb. 2009
66%
34%
46%
Feb. 2010
63%
33%
33%
Sep. 2010
37%
28%
16%
Mar. 2011
34%
25%
18%

Iraqi opinions have changed over the last couple years. After the civil war ended in 2008, and local elections were held in 2009, many Iraqis seemed to believe that things were finally turning around in the country. The endless political disputes, and the inability of the government to really change despite the balloting have brought down many Iraqis’ views of their situation. That’s why every question asked in this September 2011 poll were lower than the earlier ones done in 2009 and 2010. Unless Iraq’s parties end their arguments, and get down to the important job of governing and developing the country many people will probably continue to voice some type of negative attitude.

SOURCES

Crabtree, Steve, “Opinion Briefing: Discontent and Division in Iraq,” Gallup, 3/6/12

Al-Nashmi, Fadel, “fears that iraqi pm grabbing power, becoming a ‘democ-tator,’” Niqash, 7/5/11

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