GQR polling for NDI in Iraq shows improved security situation creates new opportunity for cooperation across sectarian lines.

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Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

GQR’s most recent national survey for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) shows a dramatic positive shift in Iraqi views toward their security situation and their military, creating a tentative willingness to repairing cross-sect relations. Both Shia and Sunni in Iraq praise the Army and Popular Mobilization Units for its progress in the fight against ISIS, even as the battle continues for Mosul, although security still remains a daily concern.  Prime Minster Haider al-Abadi also receives much of the credit for the success against ISIS outside Kurdistan; however, he faces several substantial challenges, including: determining the status of the country’s various militia groups, growing frustration over corruption and unemployment, and the pending referendum for independence in Kurdistan this September.

For the first time, our research in Iraq also includes findings from a set of additional interviews of people who have lived under ISIS for at least one year.  Iraqis know that ISIS succeeded due to a combination of threats, offers for a better life, and poor conditions in these areas. In liberated locations, some worry that Iraq’s commitment to helping these areas is still uneven, at best, and some Iraqis worry that ISIS or other extremist organizations could return. Engaging these groups early with clear steps toward reconstruction and addressing their concerns head on is the best way to ensure they do not.

The survey fielded in March and April 2017, based on 2020 face-to-face interviews, with an additional 400 interviews among those who have lived under ISIS for at least 1 year. The survey builds on 12 focus groups in February, primarily among those who have lived under ISIS.  The findings are being presented in Iraq to party and government leaders to increase their responsive to voters, in addition to US and foreign stakeholders. For the full report and reaction from the Iraq Caucus in the US House of Representatives see link here.  GQR has conducted focus groups and surveys for NDI in Iraq since 2010, in cooperation with JPM Strategic Solutions and IIACSS.