Global Policy Forum

Public Attitudes In Iraq: Four Years On

Opinion Research Business
March 2007

Despite violence only 26% preferred life under Saddam One in four (26%) Iraqi adults have had a family relative murdered in the last three years, while 23% of those living in Baghdad have had a family/relative kidnapped in the last three years.

These are among the findings released today from the largest poll into Iraqi opinion ever to be published. Carried out by UK research firm ORB, which has been tracking public opinion in Iraq since 2005, the poll shows that despite the horrendous personal security problems only 26% of the country preferred life under the previous regime of Saddam Hussein, with almost half (49%) preferring life under the current political system. As one may expect, it is the Sunnis who are most likely to back the previous regime (51%) with the Shias (66%) preferring the current arrangements.

Carried out amongst a nationally representative sample of 5,019 Iraqi adults aged 18 years+ and coming just days before the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, the poll reveals that despite the large number of civilian deaths each month, largely as a result of militia activity, only 27% believe that their country is actually in a state of civil war. Opinion here is clearly divided, as 22% feel "we are close to a state of civil war but not yet in one" while 18% argue that the country is "still some way from civil war".

Regionally, 43% of those in the Shia dominated South believe "Iraq will never get as far as civil war". The corresponding figure in the Sunni dominated North plummets to 5% where the strongest sentiment (voiced by 42%) is that the country is already in a state of civil war.

Regionally there are also significant differences in attitudes regarding the security situation and the influence of Multi National Forces (MNF). Nationally a small majority (53%) feels that the security situation in Iraq will get better in the immediate weeks following a withdrawal of the MNF. A quarter (26%) believes the situation will deteriorate with the remainder predicting no change or answering "Don't know."

It is in the South where people most strongly believe that the withdrawal of the MNF will see the security situation improve. By a ratio of nearly seven to one the Shia dominated South feels that the situation will get "a great deal/little better" (69%) rather than "worse" (10%). In the Sunni North however opinion is more evenly divided - 46% feel it will get better and 37% feel it will get worse.

What about talk of creating a federal Iraq? With the exception of the Kurdish population in the North of the country a majority (64%) support Iraq remaining as a single country run by a central national government. On this point Sunnis (57%) and Shias (69%) agree that the country should continue as one nation.


The opinion poll was conducted by ORB and the survey details are as follows:

  • Results are based on face-to-face interviews amongst a nationally representative sample of 5,019 adults aged 18 years + throughout Iraq.
  • The standard margin of error on the sample size is +1.4%
  • The methodology uses multi-stage random probability sampling and covers every one of the eighteen governorates within Iraq.
  • Interviews conducted 10th - 22nd February 2007.

    See the FINAL Tables and Charts.ppt

    More Information on Iraq
    More Information on Iraqi Public Opinion Polls
    More Information on the Occupation
    More Information on Withdrawal?
    More Information on the Coalition


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