The government run National Media Center released its latest poll of Iraqis on February 23, 2010. The survey was conducted from February 1 to 15, 2010. 5,000 people were questioned across all of Iraq’s 18 provinces. 66% were from urban areas, 34% from rural ones. 53% were males, 47% were females.
On whether they would vote in the March 7 elections, 63% said they would. That compares to the 79.6% that turned out in the 2005 parliamentary elections, and 58% that participated in the January 2009 provincial balloting. Dohuk and Dhi Qar had the most respondents saying they would vote at 83% and 78% respectively, while Anbar had the lowest amount at 43.6%. In 2009, only 40% voted in Anbar, and there have been reports of dissatisfaction within the province with their politicians and the elections. When broken down by ethnicity and sect, 67% of Kurds, 63% of Shiites, and 58% of Sunnis said they would turn out.
When asked whom they would vote, those polled showed the divided nature of Iraq’s current electorate. 29.9% said they would vote for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s State of Law list, 21.8% said they would support the National Movement of former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, 17.2% said they would choose the National Alliance of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council (SIIC) and Sadrists, 10% said they would select the Kurdish Alliance of the ruling Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), 5% said they would vote for Interior Minister Jawad Bolani’s Unity of Iraq Alliance, and the Iraqi Consensus, the successor to the Islamic Party led Iraqi Accordance Front, came in last with 2.7%. 4.9% had no opinion, while 2.2% made no response.
Who would you vote for in the 2010 parliamentary elections?
29.9% State of Law – PM Maliki
21.8% Iraqi National Movement – Ex-PM Allawi
17.2% Iraqi National Alliance – SIIC, Sadrists, Ex-PM Jaafari, Iraqi National Congress
10% Kurdish Alliance – PUK, KDP
5% Unity of Iraq Alliance – Minister Bolani, Sheikh Abu Risha’s Anbar Awakening
2.7% Iraqi Consensus – Iraqi Islamic Party
4.9% No opinion
2.2% No response
(+/- 2% margin of error)
Respondents were asked about where the political parties were getting financed, and their greatest concern was over foreign interference. 29% said lists were funded locally, 13% said that they got money from abroad, and 72% said that they were afraid of the influence of foreign funds. All of Iraq’s neighbors are believed to be funding parties in this year’s election. Those range from Iran, to the Saudis, to the Gulf States, to Turkey, etc.
Iraqis were questioned about the current deBaathification controversy, and a plurality said they supported it. 47% said they were for the Accountability and Justice Commission’s banning of candidates for alleged Baathist ties. 38% said they were opposed, and 15% had no opinion on the matter. That might reflect the fact that 60% of Iraq is Shiite, and that the Baathist card still plays well with many of them.
Last, people were asked about what they thought about Iraq’s future. 60% said they were optimistic. That follows other recent polls. A December 2009 survey by IIACSS found that 51% said that Iraq would be better in 2010 compared to 2009. Another poll from that month by YouGov reported a more mixed opinion with 46% responding that Iraq was heading in the wrong direction, while 44% said it was on the right track.
Overall, the new poll shows the divided nature of Iraq’s politics, along with their fears and hopes. In the March 2010 election, no list is likely to walk away with a majority. Instead, the vote will be closely divided between the two or three largest alliances. That will mean another coalition government that will likely look a lot like the current one. The big question now is whether Prime Minister Maliki will be able to keep his job. Iraqis are also afraid that other countries will have undo influence on the balloting by funding their favorite parties. The anti-Baathist campaign appears to have wide support as well, and that could help bring out the Shiite vote. Finally, a majority of respondents think that Iraq is moving forward.
Agence France Presse, “Foes Maliki and Allawi top contenders in Iraq poll: survey,” 2/24/10
Farbman, Rob, “IIACSS poll shows Iraqis mostly optimistic as 2010 begins,” Edison Research, 1/6/10
National Media Center, “Latest NMC poll results,” 2/23/10
Zawya, “More Iraqis fear unemployment than security issues, YouGov Siraj research report reveals,” 1/12/10