Iraq Enters a Critical Period


Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted this research (focus groups and a nationwide survey) on behalf of and in cooperation with the National Democratic Institute (NDI). NDI is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. This current research builds on past surveys and focus groups conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and NDI that focused on Iraq’s government formation process, views of sectarianism, and minority and gender issues.

With the withdrawal of U.S. troops as a backdrop, new public opinion research shows that Iraqi citizens are increasingly worried about the government’s ability to run the country — particularly to create jobs and provide basic services and security. Compounding these problems, Iraqis feel increasingly disconnected from their leaders, and complain of limited opportunities to voice their frustrations and grievances to their elected officials.

As result, Iraqis’ faith in the political class has deteriorated.  Nearly all political parties and leaders see their favorability ratings fall since this past summer.  The one major exception is Muqtada al-Sadr - he reaps the benefit from weakened opponents as his support among young men, urban dwellers, and more downscale Iraqis gives him a stronger base with real mobilization potential. 

Further splitting the national mood, the minority Sunni Arabs feel increasingly disenfranchised by the government. Ethnic Kurds, however, report feelings of comparative prosperity within the Kurdish autonomous region in northern Iraq and feel more optimistic about the future. 

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Methodology

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner conducted 10 focus groups with Iraqi adults in 5 locations from July 22-25, 2011. Groups were homogenous with respect to age, gender, ethnicity, religion, education level, and political leanings. 

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner followed this qualitative research with a quantitative survey, based on face-to-face interviews conducted between September 22 and October 5, 2011 in all of Iraq’s 18 provinces. The total sample includes 2,000 adults 18 years of age and over and was representatively stratified by province.  The margin of error on the total sample is +/- 2.6 percent and the margin of error on each individual region is +/- 4.4 percent.

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner partnered with an Iraqi public opinion research firm, theIndependent Institute for Administrative and Civil Society Studies (IIACSS), to conduct this research. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner staff traveled to Kurdistan to train the local research partner, and observe and oversee the focus groups.  NDI advisors met with party and government leaders to present the results.

This research was conducted before the full withdrawal of the U.S. troops and before a warrant was issued for the arrest of vice president Tariq al-Hashimi on disputed charges of terrorism.

Full memo

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