Iraq’s Prime Minister Shores Up His Standing, But Still Faces Discontent In New Public Opinion Poll03/07/2012 16:40
By Joel Wing*
Greenberg Quinland Rosner Research has been contracted by the National Democratic Institute to conduct a series of public opinion polls in Iraq over the last two years or so. In May 2012, they released the results of their latest study. The title of the report was “A Major Shift in the Political Landscape,” but that was a little deceiving. The survey found that there was strong support for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in southern Iraq and Baghdad, but the numbers actually showed that his standing had dipped in recent months, but by April when the new poll was conducted he had simply regained his standing from 15 months ago. The survey also showed strong discontent amongst Sunnis and Kurds with the current political situation. The new report therefore shows the deep divisions within the country, and the unhappiness with the government’s performance.
Greenberg conducted its survey in April 2012. It asked questions of 2,000 people face-to-face from each section of Iraq. There was a margin of error of +/- 2.2%. This was the fifth such opinion poll the company had conducted since November 2010 within the country.
The first two questions asked dealt with the state of Iraq and its economy. First, was about which direction people felt the nation was going. 48% said it was headed in the right direction, and 44% said it was going the wrong way. When broken down by region, southern Iraq, 65%, and Baghdad, 50%, were the most optimistic, while western, 35%, and northern Iraq, 26%, felt almost the exact opposite. Those results were mirrored when the responses were differentiated by ethnosectarian group. Shiites were the only group that felt Iraq was heading in the right direction at 60%. Kurds, 30%, and Sunnis, 26%, had the opposite opinion. When asked about the economy, 52% said it was strong, and 34% said it was weak. The overall responses for the direction Iraq was heading and the economy were almost the exact same results as a poll conducted in November 2010. At that time, 45% felt Iraq was going in the right direction, and 44% said it was going in the wrong direction, while 46% thought the economy was strong, and 38% felt it was weak. In the 15 months between those two surveys Greenberg conducted three others that found 50% of respondents were unhappy with the way things were going, and around 50% thought the economy was faltering. By April 2012, things were more positive again, a trend that was shown in many other questions as well.
Do you think that Iraq is going in the right or wrong direction?
Nov. 2010 45% right, 44% wrong
March 2011 41% right, 50% wrong
July 2011 41% right, 50% wrong
Oct. 2011 37% right, 50% wrong
April 2012 48% right, 44% wrong
Do you think that Iraq is going in the right or wrong direction? By region
Baghdad 50% right, 35% wrong,
South 65% right, 32% wrong
West 35% right, 58% wrong
North 26% right, 64% wrong
Do you think Iraq is going in the right or wrong direction? Right direction only by ethnosectarian group
Nov. 2010 Shiite 59%, Kurds 49%, Sunnis 32%
March 2011 Shiite 41%, Kurds 71%, Sunnis 21%
July 2011 Shiite 45%, Kurds 49%, Sunnis 24%
Oct. 2011 Shiite 44%, Kurds 48%, Sunnis 11%
April 2012 Shiite 60%, Kurds 30%, Sunnis 26%
Is the Iraqi economy strong or weak?
Nov. 2010 46% strong, 38% weak
March 2011 34% strong, 55% weak
Oct. 2011 33% strong, 49% weak
April 2012 52% strong, 34% right
Next, people were asked about what they thought about Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. 53% said they approved of his job performance, and 44% disapproved. By region, Maliki had the strongest support in Baghdad, 57%, and southern Iraq, 83%, and the weakest in western Iraq, 30%, and the north, 10%. When broken down by list, he had the most support amongst the Shiite parties, with his own Dawa Party being at 99%, the Sadrists at 75%, and the Supreme Council at 72%. Amongst his main rival the Iraqi National Movement (INM) only 17% approved. When questioned about whether they had a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the premier, 45% said they had a favorable one, and 41% were unfavorable. Again, the most positive results were in Baghdad, 54% favorable, and the south, 73% favorable, and amongst Shiites, 66% favorable. When compared to the previous 15 months, Maliki’s approval rating was negative from November 2010 to October 2011, but then suddenly flipped in 2012. He also had improvement in his standing with every region and party by April, even amongst the INM. In terms of favorability, Maliki is just about where he was in in November 2010.
Do you approve or disapprove of Maliki’s job as premier?
Nov. 2010 40% approve, 54% disapprove
March 2011 40% approve, 54% disapprove
July 2011 39% approve, 53% disapprove
Oct. 2011 34% approve, 58% disapprove
April 2012 53% approve, 44% disapprove
Maliki job approval by region and party
Baghdad 57% approve, 39% disapprove, Change +12% approve
South 83% approve, 16% disapprove, Change +34% approve
West 30% approve, 64% disapprove, Change +11% approve
North 10% approve, 87% disapprove, Change +1% approve
Iraqi National Movement voters 17% approve, 80% disapprove, Change +11% approve
Dawa voters 99% approve, 1% disapprove, Change +7% approve
Sadrist voters 75% approve, 23% disapprove, Change +32% approve
Supreme Council voters 72% approve, 28% disapprove, Change +14% approve
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Maliki?
Nov. 201 41% favorable, 47% unfavorable
March 2011 34% favorable, 47% unfavorable
July 2011 34% favorable, 51% unfavorable
Nov. 2011 31% favorable, 49% unfavorable
April 2012 45% favorable, 41% unfavorable
Maliki favorable/unfavorable opinion by region and ethnosectarian group
Baghdad 54% favorable, 35% unfavorable
South 73% favorable, 17% unfavorable
West 21% favorable, 58% unfavorable
North 3% favorable, 78% unfavorable
Shiites 66% favorable, 23% unfavorable
Sunnis 14% favorable, 67% unfavorable
Kurds 5% favorable, 76% unfavorable
Most Iraqis were also looking for a strong leader. 74% said a strong leader was more important than having freedoms. This opinion was shared amongst those questioned in Baghdad, 73%, southern Iraq, 80%, and western Iraq, 82%, and to a lesser extent in the north, 45%, as well as with Shiites, 77%, Sunnis, 83%, and with Kurds, 48%. This might be a legacy of Saddam Hussein, whose affects are still felt throughout the country. It might also be a reason why Maliki’s approval ratings are up, since he has stood up to his opponents, and appears as one of the only national leaders in Iraq.
Is it more important to have a strong leader or freedoms?
Total 74% strong leader, 14% freedoms
Baghdad 73% strong leader, 16% freedoms
South 80% strong leader, 13% freedoms
West 82% strong leader, 8% freedoms
North 45% strong leader, 28% freedoms
Shiites 77% strong leader, 15% freedoms
Sunnis 83% strong leader, 7% freedoms
Kurds 48% strong leader, 23% freedoms
Premier Maliki also showed strong standing against other politicians, although people are split about whether they want to stick with his policies or not. When asked which politicians had the most favorable ratings, Maliki came out on top with 52%, followed by Moqtada al-Sadr, 48%. Those were the only two politicians with positive ratings. All the other ones garnered unfavorable ratings such as Ammar al-Hakim, the head of the Supreme Council at 48% unfavorable, Iyad Allawi, the head of the Iraqi National Movement (INM) at 57% unfavorable, member of the INM and speaker of parliament Osama Nujafi at 50% unfavorable, another INM member Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi at 72% unfavorable, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the head of the National Alliance at 48% unfavorable. Out of the ten leaders asked about, Maliki had the largest growth in favorable opinion at +17%. When asked about which politician would do the best job dealing with Iraq’s problems such as improving security and services, ending sectarianism, fighting corruption, and creating jobs, Maliki came out on top in every category accept helping the poor where Sadr beat him 23% to Maliki’s 22%. At the same time, the prime minister also had the highest rating on negative questions such as who was most interested in power rather than helping people at 34%, and who was acting like a dictator at 27%. At the same time, people seemed mixed about whether they wanted to continue on the direction Maliki was taking the country with only 39% saying they wanted to continue, which was slightly up from 28% in October 2011, but still more said they were opposed in both surveys. Again, the prime minister had a strong showing against his rivals, but there seemed to be questions about the extent of his power, and his policies.
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each politician?
Premier Nouri al-Maliki 52% favorable, 35% unfavorable
Moqtada al-Sadr 48% favorable, 33% unfavorable
National Alliance head Ibrahim al-Jaafari 33% favorable, 48% unfavorable
Supreme Council head Ammar al-Hakim 32% favorable, 48% unfavorable
Iraqi National Movement (INM) head Iyad Allawi 31% favorable, 57% unfavorable
INM member and speaker of parliament Osama Nujafi 24% favorable, 50% unfavorable
Badr Organization head and Transportation Minister Hadi a-Amiri 13% favorable, 53% unfavorable
Supreme Council member Adel Abdul Mahdi 17% favorable, 59% unfavorable
INM member and Vice President Tariq al-Hashemi 18% favorable, 72% unfavorable
INM member and Deputy Premier Saleh al-Mutlaq 17% favorable, 73% unfavorable
Which politician do you think of on each topic?
Improving security? Maliki 49%, Allawi 24%, none 16%, Sadr 8%, Hakim 3%
Improving services? Maliki 39%, none 25%, Allawi 21%, Sadr 12%, Hakim 3%
Can end sectarianism? Maliki 37%, none 23%, Allawi 21%, Sadr 14%, Hakim 5%
More interested in power than helping? None 38%, Maliki 34%, Allawi 20%, Sadr 5%, Hakim 3%
Fights corruption? Maliki 32%, none 31%, Allawi 15%, Sadr 16%, Hakim 6%
Creating jobs? Maliki 32%, Allawi 25%, none 24%, Sadr 15%, Hakim 4%,
Can bring stability? None 34%, Maliki 30%, Allawi 19%, Sadr 12%, Hakim 5%
Can unite Iraq? Maliki 29%, none 26%, Allawi 21%, Sadr 17%, Hakim 7%
Acting like a dictator? None 47%, Maliki 27%, Allawi 22%, Hakim 2%, Sadr 2%
Cares about people like you? None 28%, Maliki 22%, Allawi 21%, Sadr 19%, Hakim 10%
Helping poor? None 26%, Sadr 23%, Maliki 22%, Allawi 19%, Hakim 10%
Do you want to continue or end the direction Maliki is taking Iraq?
Oct. 2011 28% continue, 53% end,
April 2012 39% continue, 47% end
The premier recently mentioned early elections as a way to solve the country’s on-going political crisis. That had wide support in the Greenberg poll, and Maliki’s Dawa came out with the most support, but it might mean problems for the premier. In polling done in July, October, and April more than 50% of people responded that they would be for early parliamentary balloting with 62%, 58%, and 64% respectively. When asked what party they would support, Dawa came out on top with 22%, followed by the National Movement, 12%, the Sadrists, 10%, and the Supreme Council 4%. Back in November 2010, the INM and Dawa received the same amount of backing at 22%. Obviously, since then, the National Movement has fallen off, while Maliki’s party has been able to maintain its standing with respondents. Finally, when questioned about whether a new prime minister should be appointed to end the political disputes 52% approved, while 35% disapproved. Western, 64%, and northern Iraq, 76%, were most in favor of this idea, along with Sunnis, 68%, and Kurds, 76%. Southern Iraq, 42% approve and 50% disapprove, and Shiites, 41% approve, 46% disapprove, were almost evenly divided on the issue. These results could mean real problems for Maliki. While a majority supported the idea of elections, and the Dawa came out in first place, a large amount of people would be happy to see Maliki go to end the country’s political problems. Luckily for the premier, the people have no say in who becomes the country’s leader. Rather party bosses decided that in back room deals.
Would you support or oppose holding new parliamentary elections?
July 2011 62% support, 21% oppose
Oct. 2011 58% support, 24% oppose
April 2012 64% support, 22% oppose
What party would you vote for if new elections were held today?
Nov. 2010 Iraqi National Movement (INM) 22%, Dawa 22%, Sadr 8%, Supreme Council 6%, none 6%
March 2011 INM 20%, Dawa 16%, Sadr 9%, none 8%, Supreme Council 5%
July 2011 INM 21%, Dawa 18%, Sadr 10%, none 8%, Supreme Council 7%
Oct. 2011 Dawa 16%, INM 14%, none 13%, Sadr 10%, Supreme Council 6%
April 2012 Dawa 22%, INM 12%, none 11%, Sadr 10%, Supreme Council 4%
Would you approve or disapprove of a new premier being appointed to end the political crisis?
Total 52% approve, 35% disapprove
Baghdad 39% approve, 34% disapprove
South 42% approve, 50% disapprove
West 64% approve, 28 disapprove
North 76% approve, 7% disapprove
Shiites 41% approve, 46% disapprove
Sunnis 68% approve, 20% disapprove
Kurds 76% approve, 11% disapprove
Another topic asked about was what were the most important issues in the country. Jobs, 55%, and unemployment, 42%, received the highest number of responses, while political instability, 6%, and sectarianism, 5%, were at the bottom. When questioned about whether a range of issues was getting better or worse, only two issues, security, 56% better, and sectarianism, 47%, were seen as improving. Everything else from water, to the oil industry, to corruption, to jobs, and electricity were seen as getting worse. In 2010 and 2011, Iraq was hit by a wave of demonstrations. Those were largely motivated by the lack of jobs, electricity, etc. The public discontent that motivated those events continued to show up in the Greenberg polling.
Which two are the most important issues for the government to address?
High prices 17%
Political instability 6%
Is each issue getting better or worse? Did not include North
Security 42% worse, 56% better
Sectarianism 42% worse, 47% better
Water supply 50% worse, 44% better
Development of oil industry 44% worse, 37% better
Housing 62% worse, 31% better
Interference by other countries 65% worse, 25% better
Political instability 70% worse, 21% better
Distribution of oil revenues 68% worse, 19% better
Corruption 76% worse, 18% better
Electricity 77% worse, 16% better
Jobs 89% worse, 10% better
When asked about divisions within the country, respondents were divided. The first question was whether sectarianism was getting better or worse. Sunnis, 58% worse, and Kurds, 61%, thought the situation was deteriorating, while Shiites, 36%, stayed relatively the same from March 2011 to April 2012. The second query was whether Iraq was a divided or unified country. Overall, 56% thought the nation was united. That was because 68% of Shiites believed so. Kurds, 53% divided, and Sunnis, 58% divided, held the opposite opinion again.
Is sectarianism getting better or worse? Worse only
March 2011 Sunnis 47%, Kurds 28%, Shiites 27%
July 2011 Sunnis 52%, Kurds 36%, Shiites 36%
Oct. 2011 Sunnis 71%, Kurds 56%, Shiites 36%
April 2012 Sunnis 58%, Kurds 61%, Shiites 36%
Is Iraq a divided or unified country?
Total 35% divided, 56% unified
Shiites 23% divided, 68% unified
Sunnis 58% divided, 38% unified
Kurds 53% divided, 26% unified
Another source of division within Iraq has been the prime minister, which was the topic for several questions. When asked did people believe the premier had too much, just enough, or not enough power, 46% said too much. That was driven by Sunnis at 69%, and Kurds at 58%. Even Shiites were split on the matter with 36% saying too much, and 41% saying just right. Next, 51% of respondents said that Maliki was most concerned about providing security, compared to 37% who felt he was just about consolidating power. Again, there was a sharp ethnosectarian divide with 68% of Shiites saying security was the premier’s top priority, while Sunnis, 61%, and Kurds, 66%, believed power was more important for Maliki. Third, people were questioned about who was more to blame for Iraq’s current political crisis, parliament or the premier, Maliki at 46% was held to be more responsible. Like with the other questions, Sunnis, 68%, and Kurds, 54%, were more likely to point the finger at the prime minster rather than the legislature. There were then two questions about how Maliki and the Kurds dealt with Vice President Hashemi. 58% approved of how the prime minister handled the issues, with both Shiites, 79%, and Kurds, 39%, supporting him. Overall, 59% disapproved of the Kurds letting Hashemi flee to Kurdistan to avoid his charges. Even the Kurds themselves were split on the matter with 40% approving, and 39% disapproving. Maliki’s actions were obviously stirring mixed emotions amongst the Iraqi public. Those divisions were especially shown when responses were listed by ethnosectarian group.
Do you believe Maliki has too much power, the right amount, or not enough?
Total 46% too much, 32% right, 14% not enough
Shiites 36% too much, 41% right, 14% not enough
Sunnis 69% too much, 17% right, 7% not enough
Kurds 58% too much, 12% right, 23% not enough
Has Maliki’s priority been security or consolidating power?
Total 51% security, 37% power
Shiites 68% security, 22% power
Sunnis 30% security, 61% power
Kurds 9% security, 66% power
Is Parliament more to blame for the current crisis or is Maliki?
Total 35% parliament, 46% Maliki
Shiites 46% parliament, 37% Maliki
Sunnis 14% parliament, 68% Maliki
Kurds 24% parliament, 54% Maliki
Do you approve or disapprove of filing charges against Vice President Hashemi?
Total 58% approve, 29% disapprove
Shiites 79% approve, 14% disapprove
Sunnis 15% approve, 69% disapprove
Kurds 39% approve, 37% disapprove
Do you approve or disapprove of Hashemi staying in Kurdistan?
Total 29% approve, 59% disapprove
Shiites 14% approve, 76% disapprove
Sunnis 64% approve, 23% disapprove
Kurds 40% approve, 39% disapprove
The Greenberg poll then focused upon poor, urban Shiites, which they called the “disaffected” who they said were Sadr’s main supporters. The responses however, showed that Maliki had a better standing amongst this group most of the time. Sadr came out with the highest favorable rating at 62%, but Maliki was close behind at 55%. Those were also the only two politicians who received favorable ratings by impoverished Shiites. When it came to which leaders best dealt with a number of issues facing the country, Maliki came out ahead of Sadr on every one, but helping the poor and who cared about the respondents. When asked about which party they would vote for if new elections were held, Maliki’s Dawa party also came out in first place, but slipped from 40% in November 2010 to 29% in April 2012. Sadr’s party in comparison was mostly in the teens. This showed that the premier has held onto his base, even amongst the poor who Sadr has also appealed to.
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of Iraq’s leaders? Disaffected Shiites only
Sadr 62% favorable, 18% unfavorable
Maliki 55% favorable, 32% unfavorable
Jaafari 43% favorable, 41% unfavorable
Hakim 37% favorable, 45% unfavorable
Nujafi 18% favorable, 54% unfavorable
Allawi 15% favorable, 74% unfavorable
Hashemi 1% favorable, 88% unfavorable
Mutlaq 1% favorable, 89% unfavorable
Which politicians do you think of on each topic? Disaffected Shiites only
Improving security? Maliki 59%, Sadr 16%, none 14%, Allawi 8%, Hakim 3%
Improving services? Maliki 50%, Sadr 20%, none 16%, Allawi 11%, Hakim 3%
Creating jobs? Maliki 36%, none 27%, Sadr 25%, Allawi 7%, Hakim 5%
Helping poor? Sadr 36%, Maliki 28%, none 20%, Allawi 10%, Hakim 6%
Cares about people like you? Sadr 32%, none 27%, Maliki 23%, Hakim 12%, Allawi 6%
Opinion of disaffected Shiites about who would they vote for?
Nov. 2010 Dawa 40%, Sadr 15%, Iraqi National Movement 8%, none 7%, Supreme Council 7%
March 2011 Dawa 40%, Sadr 15%, Iraqi National Movement 14%, none 9%, Supreme
July 2011 Dawa 29%, Sadr 18%, Iraqi National Movement 12%, Supreme Council
11%, none 9%
Oct. 2011 Sadr 22%, Dawa 20%, none 15%, Iraqi National Movement 6%, Supreme
April 2012 Dawa 29%, Sadr 17%, none 15%, Iraqi National Movement 7%,
Supreme Council 7%
Maliki’s main rival in the on-going political crisis has been Iyad Allawi of the Iraqi National Movement. His standing was rather mixed in the poll. 11% said he had too much power, 28% said just the right amount, and 42% said not enough. His strongest support came from Sunnis, 73% of which said he did not have enough power, closely followed by Kurds at 49%. Favorable opinions of Allawi also faded over the 15 months starting in November 2010 when 48% saw Allawi in a good light, but that dropped to only 28% by April 2012. When broken down by region and ethnosectarian group Allawi only had support amongst Sunnis, 71% favorable, and in Western Iraq, 59% favorable. When it came to whether Allawi had enough power or not, Sunnis and Kurds were probably motivated by the fact that they were largely opposed to Maliki, and therefore thought that Allawi should have more authority to counter the premier. The other question showed that despite Allawi being a Shiite, he barely has a base amongst them. That was shown in the 2010 parliamentary elections when his INM got most of their votes in Sunni provinces.
Do you think Allawi has too much, just right, or not enough power?
Total 11% too much, 28% right, 42% not enough
Shiites 13% too much, 36% right, 30% not enough
Sunnis 4% too much, 13% right, 73% not enough
Kurds 10% too much, 20% right, 49% not enough
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Allawi?
Nov. 2010 48% favorable, 37% unfavorable
March 2011 48% favorable, 35% unfavorable
July 2011 37% favorable, 44% unfavorable
Oct. 2011 29% favorable, 51% unfavorable
April 2012 28% favorable, 56% unfavorable
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of Allawi? By region and ethnosectarian group
Baghdad 26% favorable, 65% unfavorable
South 13% favorable, 75% unfavorable
West 59% favorable, 26% unfavorable
North 11% favorable, 51% unfavorable
Allawi low standing in Baghdad, south and north
Shiites 16% favorable, 72% unfavorable
Sunnis 71% favorable, 16% unfavorable
Kurds 12% favorable, 50% unfavorable
One major problem for Allawi and his INM is that even though they are Maliki’s greatest critics they are still part of the government holding many top positions such as vice president and speaker of parliament, along with various ministries. When asked about a real opposition emerging, 68% of respondents approved of the idea, with overseeing the government, and providing jobs, services, and fighting corruption seen as being their top priorities. Even in Maliki’s base of the south, 76% were for the idea of an opposition. If a party did these things, 66% of those polled thought they would vote for them. This could point to general discontent amongst the Iraqi public with the current ruling parties. Every list that won a seat in parliament in the 2010 elections was included in the new governing coalition. The disputes going on are all about distributing the power between them, not really about changing the government or serving the country. The people could be looking for an alternative to this system, as shown in their responses.
Would you approve of disapprove of a real opposition emerging to government?
Total 68% approve, 21% disapprove
Baghdad 46% approve, 34% disapprove
South 76% approve, 21% disapprove
West 80% approve, 12% disapprove
North 58% approve, 16% disapprove
If an opposition group emerged in parliament how would you feel about each issue?
Monitoring government actions 89% much to somewhat favorable
Propose alternative policies for jobs, services, corruption 88% much to somewhat favorable
Hold monthly questioning of ministers 86% much to somewhat favorable
If an opposition party emerged and did some of the things mentioned above how likely would you be to vote for them?
Total 66% more likely, 20% less likely
Baghdad 53% more likely, 27% less likely
South 79% more likely, 15% less likely
West 71% more likely, 17% less likely
North 41% more likely, 29% less likely
Greenberg also focused on how Kurds saw things in Iraq. In November 2010, 50% thought Iraq was heading in the right direction, but by April 2012 that had switched to 64% believing the opposite. That was matched by only 30% of Kurds questioned feeling that Iraq was a real democracy. When asked about how they thought Kurdistan was doing, 65% said they thought it was going the right way, but that was down from 84% in November 2010. When queried about which two issues were the most important for the government to address, jobs, 58%, and corruption, 54% were at the top. When asked which issues were getting better or worse, only water, 89% better, electricity, 80% better, and security, 56% better, had more positive than negative responses. Those answers showed that Kurds were just as dissatisfied as the rest of the country on many issues. In terms of politicians, Kurdish President Massoud Barzani came out on top of all the others. He and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani along with their Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were also the highest rated politicians and parties in the north. The results of the polling showed that the two ruling parties were still entrenched in Kurdistan. That was assured through their huge patronage networks, and control of the government, which is the largest employer, and driver of the economy. While opposition parties like the Change List have emerged, they still do not have the standing of the KDP and PUK.
Is Iraq going in the right or wrong direction? Kurds only
Nov. 2010 50% right, 37% wrong
March 2011 67% right, 25% wrong
July 2011 52% right, 37% wrong
Oct. 2011 47% right, 40% wrong
April 2012 26% right, 64% right
Iraq is a real democracy or not? Kurds only
30% real, 52% not
Do you think Kurdistan is heading in the right or wrong direction? Kurds only
Nov. 2010 84% right, 9% wrong
March 2011 72% right, 21% wrong
July 2011 74% right, 22% right
Oct. 2011 78% right, 15% right
April 2012 65% right, 30% wrong
Which two issues were most important for the government to address? Kurds only
Is each issue getting better or worse? Kurds only
Water 7% worse, 89% better
Electricity 15% worse, 80% better
Security 38% worse, 56% better
Housing 43% worse, 48% better
Developing oil industry 47% worse, 28% better
Sectarianism 60% worse, 28% better
Distributing oil revenues 61% worse, 26% better
Political instability 63% worse, 27% better
Jobs 79% worse, 17% better
Corruption 79% worse, 15% better
For each politician how are they doing on each issue? Kurds only
Making Kurdistan strong? Kurdish President Massoud Barzani 43%, none 25%, former Kurdish Premier Barham Saleh 19%, Change List head Nishurwan Mustafa 12%, Maliki 1%
Improving security? Barzani 39%, none 32%, Saleh 20%, Mustafa 6%, Maliki 3%
Creating jobs? Barzani 40%, none 29%, Saleh 24%, Mustafa 7%, Maliki 0%
Political stability? None 38%, Barzani 33%, Saleh 17%, Mustafa 12%, Maliki 0%
Bringing Kurdish independence? Barzani 35%, none 26%, Saleh 20%, Mustafa 18%, Maliki 1%
Care about people like you? Barzani 34%, none 32%, Saleh 19%, Mustafa 14%,
Uniting Iraq? None 52%, Barzani 26%, Saleh 16%, Mustafa 4%, Maliki 2%
Ending sectarianism? Barzani 33%, none 30%, Saleh 24%, Mustafa 11%, Maliki 2%
Fighting corruption? Barzani 31%, Mustafa 23%, none 23%, Saleh 22%, Maliki 1%
Improving services? Barzani 38%, Saleh 31%, none 19%, Mustafa 9%, Maliki 3%
Helping the poor? Barzani 36%, Saleh 30%, none 21%, Mustafa 12%, Maliki 1%
Do you feel favorable or unfavorable about each leader? Kurds only
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani 66% favorable, 16% unfavorable
Kurdish President Massoud Barzani 65% favorable, 18% unfavorable
Kurdish Premier Nechirvan Barzani 64% favorable, 21% unfavorable
Change List leader Nishurwan Mustafa 41% favorable, 31% unfavorable
Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of each Kurdish party? Kurds only
Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) 59% favorable, 24% unfavorable
Patriotic Union Of Kurdistan (PUK) 55% favorable, 22% unfavorable
Change List 39% favorable, 33% unfavorable
Kurdistan Islamic Union 30% favorable, 37% unfavorable
Kurdistan Islamic Group 26% favorable, 31% unfavorable
Which Kurdish party would you vote for if elections were held today? Kurds only
Nov. 2010 PUK 35%, KDP 32%, Change List 9%, none 7%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 7%
March 2011 KDP 30%, PUK 21%, Change 16%, none 15%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 6%
July 2011 KDP 35%, PUK 31%, Change 14%, none 9%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 3%
Oct. 2011 KDP 36%, PUK 28%, none 14%, Change 5%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 5%
April 2012 KDP 42%, PUK 21%, Change 12%, none 12%, Kurdistan Islamic Union 5%
Iraq’s democracy and institutions were the last topic of inquiry. 45% said that the country’s judiciary were becoming more independent, an issue that was largely questioned when the Supreme Court came out with a series of rulings that favored the prime minister, and when charges were filed against Vice President Hashemi. Again, 58% of Shiites believed the courts were getting better, while 61% of Sunnis and 56% of Kurds thought the opposite. When asked whether Iraq was a real democracy or not, the public was evenly divided at 45% saying yes, and 45% saying no. Sunnis were by far the most pessimistic on the issue at 75% saying no. Like other political questions in the survey, Shiites were feeling much more positive about the country, while Kurds and Sunnis were more negative.
Is the independence of the judiciary getting better or worse?
Total 45% better, 41% worse
Shiites 58% better, 29% worse
Sunnis 21% better, 61% worse
Kurds 26% better, 56% worse
Is Iraq a real democracy yes/no?
Total 45% yes, 45% no
Shiites 59% yes, 33% no
Sunnis 12% yes, 75% no
Kurds 32% yes, 49% no
The results of the latest Greenberg poll were mixed, like many other recent surveys. Greenberg showed that Maliki has emerged as the most popular politician amongst his constituents during the current political struggle, but that his opponents have strengthened their opposition to him as well. Iyad Allawi, his main rival however, has seen his stature drop. At the same time, there were ample questions that showed that if someone were to emerge to challenge Maliki or the ruling parties in general, that would be welcomed by the pubic. That could be because the government has failed to deal with any of the pressing issues facing the country such as jobs, corruption, electricity, etc. The problem is that every major party is including in the ruling coalition, and none of them is willing to give up their positions and become a real opposition. Instead, the parties will continue on with their bickering, which is likely to last all the way up to the 2014 parliamentary elections, as Iraq’s economy and services sputter along.
an MA in International Relations, Joel Wing has been researching and writing
about Iraq since 2002. His acclaimed blog, Musings on Iraq, is currently listed
by the New York Times and the World Politics Review. In addition, Mr. Wing’s
work has been cited by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the
Guardian and the Washington Independent.