According to a report in the Philadelphia Daily News, ‘Nearly three-quarters of Iraqis say they “strongly intend” to vote in next month’s pivotal elections, and a small majority believe the country is headed in the right direction,
according to a major new poll of Iraqi attitudes.
The poll of nearly 2,200 people across most of Iraq found a resilient people modestly hopeful that the Jan. 30 elections will improve life. Iraqis said bread and butter issues such as unemployment and health care are more pressing than the bloody insurgency that claims Iraqi and US lives virtually every day.
The International Republican Institute conducted the poll with face-to-face interviews by Iraqi surveyors. The IRI is not connected to the Republican Party and is a US government-funded non-profit organisation that promotes democracy worldwide. It’s one of the few independent groups to conduct in-depth scientific polling in Iraq. The poll, conducted between November 24 and December 5, found improvements over the last two months in Iraqis’ feelings about the country’s direction and, to a lesser degree, about the interim Iraqi government led by Prime Minister Iyad Allawi.
The survey was conducted after U.S. and Iraqi troops retook insurgent-held Fallujah, but before it became clear that the insurgency remains potent. Nearly 54 percent said Iraq is generally headed in the right direction – compared with 42 percent in late September and early October – while 32 percent said it’s headed in the wrong direction. Of the optimists, more than 16 percent cited the coming election and 21 percent cited the toppling of Saddam’s regime as the main reasons they thought the country was headed in the right direction. Of the pessimists, nearly 53 percent cited the poor security situation as the main reason for thinking Iraq is headed in the wrong direction’. (AJ)