Most Iraqis Say Future Looks Brighter

Most Iraqis say future looks brighter (USA Today)

More Iraqis believe their country is headed in the right direction and fewer think it’s going wrong than at any time since the U.S. invasion two years ago, according to a new poll. The poll, by the International Republican Institute (IRI), due to be made public Wednesday, also found that nearly half of Iraqis believe that religion has a special role to play in government.

The survey of 1,967 Iraqis was conducted Feb. 27-March 5, after Iraq (news – web sites) held its first free elections in half a century in January. According to the poll, 62% say the country is headed in the right direction and 23% say it is headed in the wrong direction. That is the widest spread recorded in seven polls by the group, says Stuart Krusell, IRI director of operations for Iraq. In September, 45% of Iraqis thought the country was headed in the wrong direction and 42% thought it was headed in the right direction. The IRI is a non-partisan, U.S. taxpayer-funded group that promotes democracy abroad.

Pollsters did not survey three of Iraq’s 18 provinces because of security and logistical concerns. Two of those omitted, Anbar and Ninevah, are predominantly Sunni Muslim. A third, Dahuk, is mostly Kurdish. Krusell said that even if those areas had been included and 100% had expressed negative views, the poll would still have shown that most Iraqis believe that the situation in their country is improving.

Interesting results. I hasten to point out, though, that public opinion polling in places where people aren’t accustomed to being free to speak their mind can be a bit sketchy. Still, as Cori Dauber rants, it beats non-scientific “man on the street” polls conducted by journalists. She and Dan Drezner have links to other polls and information that would seem to indicate that this poll is anything but an outlyer.

FILED UNDER: Iraq War, Public Opinion Polls
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.