Category : BBC
Date : 16.03.2004
To mark the
first anniversary of the war in Iraq, the BBC has commissioned two major
The first, by Oxford Research International, is the
biggest survey of Iraqis ever undertaken.
One year on from the war, more than 2,500 Iraqis were
asked about their lives today.
Overwhelmingly they say life is good right now, and
more of them support than oppose the war.
The second - a poll of British public opinion by ICM
for Newsnight - shows a significant level of support for the Prime Minister,
with a narrow majority in the UK now in favour of the war (48% in favour;
Of the people who expressed an opinion, it was very
close as to whether people thought the war was legal or not (37% thought
it was legal; 39% who thought it was illegal).
When asked which of the three main political leaders
the British public would most trust to make the best decision next time
Britain has to take military action, more said they supported Tony Blair
than either Michael Howard or Charles Kennedy.
There will be full coverage of the findings across BBC
News from BBC ONE's Breakfast and Radio 4's Today programme onwards.
Iraq war right or wrong
"Thinking about the build-up to the Iraq war and
everything that has happened since, do you think that taking military
action was the right thing to do, or the wrong thing to do?"
Don't Know 9%
Did the Government lie about WMD?
"In the run up to the war with Iraq, do you think
Tony Blair and his Government
Told the truth about WMD 29%
Exaggerated but did not lie about WMD 40%
Lied about WMD 22%
Who would you trust to decide next time?
"If the British Government had to decide again
whether to take military action, who would you trust to make the best
Tony Blair 32%
Michael Howard 22%
Charles Kennedy 17%
None of them 13%
Don't know 15%
Source: BBC/ICM, 10-12 March 2004, sample 1,014
The UK poll conducted by ICM will feature in One
Year On: Iraq - a Newsnight Special on BBC TWO today (Tuesday 16
March) at 9.00 pm.
The second poll was jointly sponsored by the BBC, ABC
News, German network ARD and NHK in Japan, with field work by Oxford
Research International of Oxford, England.
The poll consisted of in-person interviews conducted
from 10 to 28 February with a random, nationally representative sample
of 2,500 Iraqis.
Interviews for the survey were conducted from 223 randomly
selected sampling points across the country.
The Iraqi people are optimistic about their future with
70% declaring that life today is good.
The poll results show that a majority (57%) of Iraqis
think things are better now than before the war.
However, 85% said regaining public security was the
major priority and only 25% had confidence in the coalition forces.
More Iraqis (49%) still believe that the coalition invasion
was right compared to those (39%) who thought it was wrong.
When asked about what Iraq needs at this time, whilst
86% answered "an Iraqi democracy", 81% also mentioned "a
single strong Iraqi leader".
The highlights of the Iraq survey are as follows:
Overall, 70% of Iraqis say that their
life these days is good, compared with 29% who say their life is bad.
Compared with just
before the war in 2003, 57% of Iraqis now say their life is better overall,
compared with 19% who say it is worse and 23% who say it is about the
71% of Iraqis expect
their lives to be better in a year from now, compared with 6% who expect
life to be worse and 9% who say life will remain about the same.
Half of Iraqis
(49%) believe the invasion of Iraq by the US-led coalition was right,
compared with 39% who thought it was wrong.
Opinion was evenly
split on whether the invasion humiliated Iraq (41%) or liberated it
(42%). Almost one in five respondents (17%) refused to comment.
Asked about conditions
where they lived, 69% said the availability of jobs was bad and 64%
said the same about the electricity supply. 72% said conditions in local
schools were good but respondents were evenly split on the whether the
local security situation, supply of clean water and availability of
medical care was good or bad.
In terms of the
top three priorities in Iraq over the next 12 months, regaining public
security rated by far the highest (85%), followed by holding elections
for a national government (30%), ensuring the majority of Iraqis can
make a decent living (30%) and reviving the economy (28%).
Among those who
had heard of them, Iraq's religious leaders scored the highest level
of confidence (70%). But they were closely followed by the police (68%)
and then by the new Iraqi army (56%). At the other end of the scale,
only 25% expressed confidence in the US/UK occupation forces and 28%
in both Iraq's political parties and the Coalition Provisional Authority.
When asked about
what Iraq needs at this time, whilst 86% answered "an Iraqi democracy",
81% also mentioned "a single strong Iraqi leader".
In terms of the
future structure of Iraq, 79% wanted "one unified Iraq with central
government in Baghdad", compared with 14% who wanted regional governments
with a federal government in Baghdad. Only 4% favoured dividing Iraq
into separate independent states.
When asked what
political actions by other people would be acceptable, whilst the overwhelming
majority of respondents thought any violence was unacceptable, some
17% said attacks on coalition forces would be acceptable, 14% said the
same about attacks on the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) and
10% thought attacks on foreigners working alongside the CPA would be
In terms of the
continuing presence of the coalition forces in Iraq, 39% of respondents
supported their presence, compared with 51% who were opposed to it.
As for what would
be most effective in improving security in Iraq, 96% said that creating
jobs would be most effective, 93% said training and hiring more Iraqi
local police and 87% said transferring all political authority to an
Whilst 15% said
the coalition forces should leave Iraq immediately, 36% said they should
remain until an Iraqi government was in place and a further 18% said
"until security is restored".