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Thursday 27 Nov 2014

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New Iraq poll suggests Iraqis are much more hopeful about future

A new opinion poll in Iraq suggests that, for the first time since the war in 2003, worries about violence and insecurity are no longer the overriding concern of most Iraqis.

They are very much more hopeful about the future, and are increasingly preoccupied now with more conventional worries like the economy, job prospects and the availability of basic necessities.

The poll, commissioned by the BBC, ABC News and NHK of Japan, is the sixth in a series stretching back to March 2004.

Its findings show striking shifts in opinion since the last poll, in March 2008 – by more than 10% in many cases, rising to as much as 48%. A key factor in this new upbeat tone is a very much higher level of optimism within the Sunni population.

On security, 85% of all respondents described the current situation as very good or quite good – up 23% on a year ago. Fifty-two per cent say security has improved over the last year, up 16% on March 2008. Only 8% that it's worse – as against 26% 12 months ago. Fifty-nine per cent say they feel safe in their neighbourhoods, up 22% from 37% last time. The numbers of people who report direct experience of car bombs, suicide attacks, sectarian fighting, kidnappings and assassination in their areas are much lower than last year.

Those who say their lives are going very well or quite well are now 65% of the total, up 9% on March 2008. And there's a 14% increase, to 60%, of those who think things will be better in Iraq as a whole in a year from now.

Some aspects of everyday life are improving too. The availability of power has been a major issue in the past six years, with only around 10% of the population saying in previous polls that they have had reliable supplies. In the latest poll, that figure has leapt by 25%, to 37%. And the number of those who say that availability of fuel for cooking or driving is now very good or quite good has also shot up to 67%, a 48% rise on the 19% of March 2008.

Notes to Editors

The poll was conducted by D3 Systems and KA Research Ltd of Turkey, for the BBC, ABC News, and NHK of Japan. A total of 2,228 Iraqis were questioned across all 18 provinces of the country between 17 and 25 February 2009. The margin of error is + or – 2.5%.

The full results are on the BBC News website.

CC3

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