Global Policy Forum

Iraqi Public Opinion Polls and the Occupation


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Polling organizations have carried out many opinion surveys in Iraq since March 2003. These polls, including those sponsored by the US and UK governments, have clearly shown that Iraqis are very critical of the presence of foreign forces in their country.

Read GPF Special Report on Iraq: Iraqi Public Opinion (June 2007)

GPF Perspectives | UN Documents | Articles

GPF Perspectives

Read GPF Special Report on Iraq: Iraqi Public Opinion (June 2007)

UN Documents

Iraq Poll (September 2007)

According to this poll commissioned by the BBC, ABC and NHK to assess the effects of the US military's surge strategy, 70 percent of Iraqis believe the strategy has made Iraq's security situation worse. The poll finds 47 percent of Iraqis want US-led forces to leave Iraq immediately and 34 percent want the troops to leave when the security situation improves. The results of the survey indicate the surge has hampered conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development and has not improved security. The findings come as US Commander General David Petraeus prepares to deliver his own assessment of the ‘surge' strategy to Congress.


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Iraq: No Let Up in Humanitarian Crisis (March 8, 2008)

According to this report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the occupation has created a critical healthcare crisis and divided families in Iraq. International humanitarian law requires that those involved in conflict "do everything possible to ensure that civilians, medical staff and medical facilities are not harmed." Yet, the occupying forces have installed checkpoints, established curfews and contributed to a lack of safety, which cuts off Iraqi civilians from even the most basic healthcare.

Iraq Opinion Poll (March 2008)

This poll by D3 Systems and KA Research Ltd. concludes that Iraqi citizens feel that the situation in their country remains dire and there is little hope for improvement. The most pressing problems facing Iraqi citizens are "poor electricity supply and unemployment." The poll argues that the "the lack of security and safety" remains the largest threat and a majority of Iraqis blame the US military as the main cause of the deteriorated security situation.


What Iraqis Think, Again (September 12, 2007)

In this Abu Aardvark blog, Marc Lynch summarizes a BBC, ABC and NHK survey which asks Iraqis whether the US military 'surge' has improved security in their country. The poll finds that 56 percent of Iraqis describe the security situation in their neighborhood as bad. The findings conflict with General David Petraeus' report to US Congress that the conditions in Iraq have improved since the surge strategy began in April 2007.

Iraqis Oppose Oil Development Plans, Poll Finds (August 6, 2007)

An NGO-sponsored survey for the first time asked ordinary Iraqis their view on the highly contentious draft oil law. According to the poll, 76 percent of Iraqis feel "inadequately" informed about the contents of the proposed law. Nonetheless, 63 percent responded that they would prefer Iraqi state-owned companies – and not foreign corporations – to develop Iraq's extensive oil fields. (Oil Change International, Institute for Policy Studies, War on Want, PLATFORM and Global Policy Forum)

Iraq Poll 2007 (March 2007)

According to this poll conducted for the BBC, ABC News, ARD German TV and USA Today, the feeling of insecurity has been growing in Iraq since the beginning of the occupation and pessimism increasing, with only one-third of Iraqis expecting things to improve in the next year. Further, the survey reveals that support for the occupation is dwindling, with 82 percent of the population expressing lack of confidence in Coalition forces and 69 percent of Iraqis thinking the US occupation has exacerbated the security situation. In addition to violence and the lack of security, Iraqis deplore their poor living conditions, including the lack of availability of jobs, clean water, electricity and medical care, and they have low expectations that things will improve in the future. (D3 Systems)

Public Attitudes In Iraq: Four Years On (March 2007)

According to one of the largest Iraqi opinion polls ever published, a majority of Iraqis feels "the security situation in Iraq will get better in the immediate weeks following a withdrawal of the MNF." The study also asks respondents what they think of the US troop surge and the Maliki Baghdad security plan, whether they believe their country is in a civil war and their views on a federal Iraq. (Opinion Research Business)



Public Opinion Survey in Iraq : Security & Political Situations (November 2006)

According to this survey, 95 percent of respondents believe the security situation has deteriorated since the arrival of US forces and about 66 percent think violence would decrease if US forces were to leave. The poll finds respondents pessimistic that there will be a change in the US approach and lacking confidence in their own government. (Centre for Research and Strategic Studies)

The Iraqi Public on the US Presence and the Future of Iraq (September 27, 2006)

Conducted by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), University of Maryland, this poll finds that Iraqis believe, by an overwhelming margin of 78 to 21 percent, that the US military presence is "provoking more conflict that it is preventing." Seven in ten Iraqis want the US-led forces to commit to withdraw within a year, but a very large majority believes that the US will remain in the country, even if the Iraqi government asked it to withdraw, as the Washington plans to maintain permanent bases . Further, support for attacks against US forces has increased substantially and as of September 2006 reached 61 percent. But PIPA points out that "if the US were to make a commitment to withdraw according to a timetable, support for attacks would diminish." [Click here to see PIPA's January 2006 Poll] (

US Department of State: Iraq Civil War Fears Remain High in Sunni and Mixed Areas (June-July 2006)

The Washington Post obtained a copy of a confidential US Department of State report and described some of its findings. According to the report, "a strong majority of Iraqis want the US-led Coalition forces to immediately withdraw from the country, saying that their swift departure would make Iraq more secure and decrease sectarian violence." Results of the study showed that nearly three-quarters of residents polled in Baghdad said "they would feel safer if US and other foreign forces left Iraq," with 65 percent in favor of an immediate pullout.



British Ministry of Defence: Secret Military Poll (October 2005)

The Sunday Telegraph obtained a copy of a secret British military poll. The study found that 82 percent of respondents are "strongly opposed" to the presence of Coalition troops, 45 percent believe attacks on foreign troops are justified, and less than one percent think that US-UK military involvement is helping to improve security. Further, 71 percent of Iraqis say they rarely get safe clean water, 47 percent say they never have enough electricity, 70 percent say their sewage system rarely works and 40 percent of southern Iraqis say they are unemployed.



"Public Opinion in Iraq – First Poll following Abu Ghraib Revelations" (June 16, 2004)

This poll conducted by the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies finds that an overwhelming 92% of Iraqis perceive Coalition forces as occupiers, rather than as liberators or peacekeepers. 41 percent of respondents feel the Coalition should leave immediately and a further 45 percent believe that the occupiers should leave once a permanent government is elected.



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