New Opinion Poll Results in Iraq: 48% View US Positively
The results of an opinion poll done in 5 of Iraq’s provinces (Baghdad, Basra, Diwaniyah, al-Hillah, Kirkuk), with 1300 respondents late fall, 2003, have been announced by a Baghdad social research institute and reported in az-Zaman newspaper.
80% of Iraqis believe that bringing back, employing, and training members of the old Iraqi police and army would produce greater security.
91% of Iraqis believe that returning sovereignty to the Iraqis will be an essential factor in stabilizing the security situation.
48% said that the current role of the US in Iraq is positive.
38% said that the British role is positive.
15% said that they thought Iran was playing a positive role in Iraq.
75% say that they would feel a lack of security were the American forces to decide to leave the country.
On the other hand, 75% said that the US should leave once an independent is established.
55% disagreed with the proposition that the attacks are aimed at liberating Iraq.
80% agreed that the guerrilla attacks aim at destabilizing the country.
65% have confidence in the Interim Governing Council.
48% have confidence in their local governing councils.
47% say that the Western form of democracy cannot be implemented in Iraq, and 45% of respondents disagreed with them, saying democracy is not a monopoly of the West.
48% say that clergy should be involved in establishing stability.
47% say that clergy should stick to purely religious functions.
88% say that political leaders must be elected by the people.
58% of the sample said they were unemployed, and 98% said that government welfare raionts were essential to their livelihood.
As usual with Iraq, this is a glass half full story. Some will see it as a glass half empty story. Less than half of Iraqis are convinced that Western style democracy can be implemented, but nearly 6 in 10 demand open elections. About half approve of the US role, but a large majority wants US troops out once there is an independent government. About half of Iraqis have theocratic tendencies (and the percentage is probably higher among Shiites alone).
One hopes that they are right, that the restoration of sovereigny on July 1 will contribute to the country’s security.