* AP Poll: Most see Iraq war as failure (11 Sep 2024)

* US surge has failed - Iraqi poll (08 Sept 2024)

* Global Poll: Majority Wants Troops Out of Iraq Within a Year (Sept 2024)

* Poll: Iraqis Oppose Oil Privatization (06 Aug 2024)

* Support for Iraq War at Low Point (26 June 2007)

* 40% of Americans Believe Saddam Behind 9/11 (25 June 2024)

* Britons Blast Blair, Bush for Iraq War (26 May 2024)

* Majority Muslims Want US Out of Mid-East (24 April 2024)

* Iraq poll 2024: In graphics ( BBC  19 March 2024) - Iraqis See Hope Drain Away (USA Today 19 March 2007)

* Resilient Iraqis ask: what civil war? (Times 18 March 2024)

*  Poll of Iraqis: Public Wants Timetable for US Withdrawal, but Thinks US Plans Permanent Bases in Iraq (31 Jan 2024)

*  Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops (22 Oct 2024)

Protest Demonstration in Najaf against the occupation (10/04/2020)

Poll of Iraqis: Public Wants Timetable for US Withdrawal, but Thinks US Plans Permanent Bases in Iraq

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  • Half of Iraqis Approve of Attacks on US Forces, Including 9 Out of 10 Sunnis

    Full Report

    A new poll of the Iraqi public finds that a large majority of Iraqis think the US plans to maintain bases in Iraq permanently, even if the newly elected government asks the US to leave. A large majority favors setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces, though this majority divides over whether the timeline should be over a period of six months or two years. Nearly half of Iraqis approve of attacks on US-led forces—including nine out of 10 Sunnis. Most Iraqis believe that many aspects of their lives will improve once the US-led forces leave, but are nonetheless uncertain that Iraqi security forces are ready to stand on their own.

    The poll was conducted for WorldPublicOpinion.org by the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and was fielded by KA Research Limited/D3 Systems, Inc. Polling was conducted January 2-5 with a nationwide sample of 1,150, which included an oversample of 150 Arab Sunnis (hereafter simply called Sunnis).

    Asked whether “the US government plans to have permanent military bases in Iraq or to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized,” 80% overall assume that the US plans to remain permanently, including 79% of Shia, 92% of Sunnis and 67% of Kurds. Only small minorities believe that the US plans “to remove all its military forces once Iraq is stabilized” (overall 18%, Shia 21%, Sunni 7%, Kurds 28%).

    Iraqis of all ethnic groups also agree that the US is unlikely to take direction from the Iraqi government. Asked what they think the US would do if the new government were to ask the US to withdraw its forces within six months, 76% overall assume that the US would refuse to do so (Shia 67%, Sunni 94%, Kurds 77%).

    Support for Timetable

    Asked what they would like the newly elected Iraqi government to ask the US-led forces to do, 70% of Iraqis favor setting a timeline for the withdrawal of US forces. This number divides evenly between 35% who favor a short time frame of “within six months” and 35% who favor a gradual reduction over two years. Just 29% say it should “only reduce US-led forces as the security situation improves in Iraq.”

    There are, however, variations along ethnic lines. Sunnis are the most unified, with 83% wanting US forces to leave within 6 months. Seventy percent of Shia agree on having a timeline, but divide between 22% who favor withdrawal in six months and 49% who favor two years. Among the Kurds, on the other hand, a majority of 57% favor reducing US-led forces only when the situation improves.

    Even larger majorities, including a majority of Kurds, indicate a readiness to follow the government’s lead should it choose to pursue a timetable. Asked if it was a good idea for Iraqi leaders to have agreed at the Arab League conference that there should be a timetable for the withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraq, 87% say that it was, including 64% of Kurds, 94% of Sunnis and 90% of Shia.

    Despite the strong support for a timeline, there are differing expectations as to what the new government will in fact do. Overall, 61% assume that the newly elected government will propose a timeline, with 17% assuming that it will be within six months and 44% over two years. However, there are sharp differences between the ethnic groups. While 76% of Shia assume that the new government will ask for withdrawal in six months (24%) or two years (52%), a majority of Kurds (57%) and Sunnis (54%) assume that the new government will ask US forces to withdraw only as the security situation improves.

    A November 2024 poll of Iraqis conducted by the Oxford Research Institute for a consortium of media outlets including BBC, ABC News, NHK and others also found unhappiness with the presence of US troops. Sixty-five percent said they opposed “the presence of coalition forces in Iraq.” However, it was not asked specifically whether they wanted them to leave and when.

    Support for Attacks

    A substantial portion of Iraqis support attacks on US led-forces, but not attacks on Iraqi government security forces or Iraqi civilians. Ethnic groups vary sharply on these questions.

    Overall, 47% say they approve of “attacks on US-led forces” (23% strongly). There are huge differences between ethnic groups. An extraordinary 88% of Sunnis approve, with 77% approving strongly. Forty-one percent of Shia approve as well, but just 9% strongly. Even 16% of Kurds approve (8% strongly).

    Naturally the question arises why it is that only 35% want US troops to withdraw within six months while 47% approve of attacks on US-led forces. Interestingly, 41% of those who support attacks do not favor a near-term withdrawal. One possible explanation is that the attacks are not prompted by a desire to bring about an immediate withdrawal, but to put pressure on the US so that it will eventually leave. Indeed, among those who approve of such attacks, 90% believe that the US plans to have bases in Iraq permanently and 87% assume that the US would refuse to leave even if asked to by the new Iraqi government.

    PIPA Director Steven Kull comments, “It appears that support for attacks on US-led forces may not always be prompted by a desire for the US to leave Iraq immediately but rather to put pressure on the US to leave eventually—something most Iraqis perceive the US as having no intention of doing.”

    Support for other types of attacks is sharply lower. An overwhelming 93% oppose attacks on Iraqi government security forces (66% strongly). This is true of all ethnic groups, including 76% of Sunnis, 97% of Shia and 99% of Kurds. Thus, it appears that support for attacks on US-led forces is truly aimed at US-led forces, not an indirect attempt to undermine the new Iraqi government.

    Support for attacks on Iraqi civilians is nearly nonexistent. Only 1% approve, while 95% disapprove strongly.

    Sources of Urgency for Withdrawal

    The major source of urgency for withdrawal is the feeling, especially among Sunnis, that it is offensive for their country to be occupied. A secondary reason is that US forces attract more attacks and make the violence worse.

    The 35% of respondents who took the position in favor of the near-term exit of US forces from Iraq (six months) were asked: “Which of the following reasons for withdrawing US-led forces is the most important to you?” and given four options. The most commonly selected answer is: “It is offensive to me to have foreign forces in my country.” This was selected by 20% (of the total sample) overall, 52% of Sunnis, 11% of Shia and 7% of Kurds. The second most common answer is: “The presence of US forces attracts more violent attacks and makes things worse,” which was selected by 11% overall, 26% of Sunnis, 6% of Shia and 4% of Kurds. Far fewer chose the other two options: “It is no longer necessary to have US-led forces in Iraq: Iraq can take care of itself” (2%), and “I do not like the way US forces have treated Iraqi civilians” (2%).

    Effects of US Withdrawal

    Iraqis believe that many aspects of their lives would improve were US-led forces to leave Iraq. Sunnis and Shia feel this way regarding every aspect asked about, while the Kurds have more mixed views. However, the majority is still not sure that Iraqi security forces are ready for US-led forces to leave within a short-term time frame.

    Respondents were asked what would happen in a variety of areas if US-led forces were to withdraw from Iraq in the next six months. Majorities of Iraqis express confidence that in many dimensions related to security, things would improve. Sixty-seven percent say that “day to day security for ordinary Iraqis” would increase, a consensus position among all ethnic groups—83% of Sunnis, 61% of Shia and 57% of Kurds. On other points, Sunnis and Shia agree, but the Kurds diverge. Overall, 64% believe that violent attacks would decrease, including a majority of Sunnis (86%) and Shia (66%), but 78% of Kurds think they will increase. Overall, 61% think that the amount of interethnic violence will decrease, including a majority of Sunnis (81%) and Shia (64%), but a majority of Kurds (68%) think it will increase. Similarly, 56% overall agree that the presence of foreign fighters in Iraq will decrease if US-led forces withdraw (Sunnis 74%, Shia 64%), but 74% of Kurds think they will increase.

    Interestingly, there is a fair amount of consensus that if US-led troops were to withdraw, there would be substantial improvement in the performance of the Iraqi state. Overall, 73% think there will be an increase in the willingness of factions to cooperate in Parliament, including majorities of Kurds (62%), Sunnis (87%) and Shia (68%). Sixty-seven percent assume there will be an increase in the availability of public services such as electricity, schools and sanitation (Sunni 83%, Shia 63%, Kurds 54%). Sixty-four percent assume crime will go down (Sunnis 88%, Shia 66%), but here again the Kurds diverge, with 77% assuming crime will increase.

    Naturally the question arises, “Why do only 35% favor the US withdrawing within six months if there would be so many assumed benefits?” The answer may lie in the response to another question that asked whether in six months Iraqi security forces will be “strong enough to deal with the security challenges Iraq will face” or will still “need the help of military forces from other countries.” Overall, 59% feel that Iraqi security forces will not be strong enough, including 55% of Shia, 58% of Sunnis and 73% of Kurds. Thus, the presence of US troops may be perceived as an unwelcome presence that produces many undesirable side effects, but is still necessary for a period.




    March 18, 2007

    Resilient Iraqis ask: what civil war?

    DESPITE sectarian slaughter, ethnic cleansing and suicide bombs, an opinion poll conducted on the eve of the fourth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq has found a striking resilience and optimism among the inhabitants.

    The poll, the biggest since coalition troops entered Iraq on March 20, 2024, shows that by a majority of two to one, Iraqis prefer the current leadership to Saddam Hussein’s regime, regardless of the security crisis and a lack of public services.

    The survey, published today, also reveals that contrary to the views of many western analysts, most Iraqis do not believe they are embroiled in a civil war.

    Officials in Washington and London are likely to be buoyed by the poll conducted by Opinion Research Business (ORB), a respected British market research company that funded its own survey of 5,019 Iraqis over the age of 18.

    The 400 interviewers who fanned out across Iraq last month found that the sense of security felt by Baghdad residents had significantly improved since polling carried out before the US announced in January that it was sending in a “surge” of more than 20,000 extra troops.

    The poll highlights the impact the sectarian violence has had. Some 26% of Iraqis - 15% of Sunnis and 34% of Shi’ites - have suffered the murder of a family member. Kidnapping has also played a terrifying role: 14% have had a relative, friend or colleague abducted, rising to 33% in Baghdad.

    Yet 49% of those questioned preferred life under Nouri al-Maliki, the prime minister, to living under Saddam. Only 26% said things had been better in Saddam’s era, while 16% said the two leaders were as bad as each other and the rest did not know or refused to answer.

    Not surprisingly, the divisions in Iraqi society were reflected in statistics — Sunnis were more likely to back the previous Ba’athist regime (51%) while the Shi’ites (66%) preferred the Maliki government.

    Maliki, who derives a significant element of his support from Moqtada al-Sadr, the hardline Shi’ite militant, and his Mahdi army, has begun trying to overcome criticism that his government favours the Shi’ites, going out of his way to be seen with Sunni tribal leaders. He is also under pressure from the US to include more Sunnis in an expected government reshuffle.

    The poll suggests a significant increase in support for Maliki. A survey conducted by ORB in September last year found that only 29% of Iraqis had a favourable opinion of the prime minister.

    Another surprise was that only 27% believed they were caught up in a civil war. Again, that number divided along religious lines, with 41% of Sunnis believing Iraq was in a civil war, compared with only 15% of Shi’ites.

    The survey is a rare snapshot of Iraqi opinion because of the difficulty of working in the country, with the exception of Kurdish areas which are run as an essentially autonomous province.

    Most international organisations have pulled out of Iraq and diplomats are mostly holed-up in the Green Zone. The unexpected degree of optimism may signal a groundswell of hope at signs the American “surge” is starting to take effect.

    This weekend comments from Baghdad residents reflected the poll’s findings. Many said they were starting to feel more secure on the streets, although horrific bombings have continued. “The Americans have checkpoints and the most important thing is they don’t ask for ID, whether you are Sunni or Shi’ite,” said one resident. “There are no more fake checkpoints so you don’t need to be scared.”

    The inhabitants of a northern Baghdad district were heartened to see on the concrete blocks protecting an Iraqi army checkpoint the lettering: “Down, down with the militias, we are fighting for the sake of Iraq.”

    It would have been unthinkable just a few weeks ago. Residents said they noted that armed militias were off the streets.

    One question showed the sharp divide in attitudes towards the continued presence of foreign troops in Iraq. Some 53% of Iraqis nationwide agree that the security situation will improve in the weeks after a withdrawal by international forces, while only 26% think it will get worse.

    “We’ve been polling in Iraq since 2024 and the finding that most surprised us was how many Iraqis expressed support for the present government,” said Johnny Heald, managing director of ORB. “Given the level of violence in Iraq, it shows an unexpected level of optimism.”

    Despite the sectarian divide, 64% of Iraqis still want to see a united Iraq under a central national government.

    One statistic that bodes ill for Iraq’s future is the number who have fled the country, many of them middle-class professionals. Baghdad has been hard hit by the brain drain — 35% said a family member had left the country.


    Iraq poll 2024: In graphics


    An opinion poll commissioned by the BBC and other major media groups has provided a revealing insight into the everyday lives, hopes and fears of people living in Iraq.

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    It is the third Iraq poll conducted for the BBC since 2024 and now includes regional and ethnic breakdowns of responses with Sunnis and Shias holding diametrically opposing views on a large number of issues.


    The poll of 2,212 people from across Iraq suggests an increasing pessimism and feeling of insecurity since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.

    In 2024, democratic elections were taking place and many Iraqis thought things were better than before the 2024 conflict and were hopeful about the future.

    Much pessimism appears to stem from the fact that life is not noticeably improving for many people with rising dissatisfaction about the availability of jobs, clean water, electricity and the freedom to choose where to live without persecution.

    Some Iraqis blame their politicians for the situation - 53% were dissatisfied with the way the Iraqi government was performing, compared with 33% in 2024.

    Most think the US currently runs things in Iraq while there most believe Syria and Iran are actively encouraging sectarian vioelnce in the country.


    Since the end of the war in Iraq, thousands of civilians have died in violence on the streets. Support for the coalition forces based in Iraq is low - with 82% expressing a lack of confidence in them and 69% thinking they had made the security situation worse.

    Those polled were split as to whether attacks on coalition forces were acceptable - but a majority still believe they should remain in the country until security is restored.

    In ethnic terms, Sunnis were more eager for troops to leave - with 55% saying they should leave now compared to 28% of Shia respondents.

    The belief that the US-led coalition was wrong to have invaded Iraq in 2003 has steadily increased since 2024.

    Only 2% of Sunnis questioned believed it was absolutely or somewhat right to have invaded, while 78% said it was absolutely wrong. By comparison, 70% of Shia respondents said the decision to invade Saddam Hussein's Iraq was absolutely or somewhat right.

    Security remains a key concern. Asked whether they felt safe in their own neighbourhoods, 40% said yes in 2024, 63% in 2024 but only 26% in 2024.



    Support for the return of a strong leader to lead the country for life or the establishment of an Islamic state have grown marginally while most still pin their hopes to democracy.

    A strong leader is more popular than democracy to 58% of the Sunni population, although most accept Iraq will be a democracy in five years' time. Shia respondents were split 41% to 40% in favour of democracy over an Islamic state, but 52% think Iraq will be a democracy in five years' time.



    The execution of Iraq's last strong leader, Saddam Hussein - himself a Sunni Muslim - also split the country over how appropriately it was carried out.

    The divisions are stark when broken down along ethnic lines. Ninety seven per cent of Sunnis questioned thought the execution was carried out in an inappropriate manner compared with 17% of Shia.

    Asked whether the execution was helpful in bringing about reconciliation in Iraq, 62% of Shia thought it would, while 96% of Sunnis thought it made reconciliation more difficult.


    Iraq was divided into four regions for the poll:

    North: made up of the districts of Dahuk, Irbil, Nineveh, Sulaimaniya, Tamim;

    Central: Anbar, Babil, Diyala, Salahuddin;


    South: Basra, Karbala, Misan, Najaf, Muthanna, Qadisiya, Dhiqar, Wasit.

    The results show that people in the northern and southern districts think things are good in their lives.

    The majority of people in the central regions and Baghdad say life is quite bad or very bad.

    How do you rate conditions where you live?
      All North Central South Baghdad Shia Sunni
    Security situation % % % % % % %
    Very good 17 34 1 24 0 17 1
    Quite good 30 28 20 45 20 45 6
    Quite bad 21 16 26 19 23 24 23
    Very bad 32 22 53 12 57 14 70
    Availability of jobs              
    Very good 3 13 0 0 0 0 0
    Quite good 17 28 11 17 15 20 4
    Quite bad 44 31 50 46 47 45 50
    Very bad 35 28 38 37 38 35 46
    Electricity supply              
    Very good 2 3 0 2 0 1 0
    Quite good 11 12 2 21 0 15 3
    Quite bad 37 36 36 39 38 41 30
    Very bad 51 49 61 37 62 42 66
    Clean water supply              
    Very good 9 22 1 8 0 6 2
    Quite good 22 35 8 31 0 22 12
    Quite bad 35 22 45 32 49 38 39
    Very bad 34 21 46 29 51 33 47
    Local government              
    Very good 12 23 2 18 0 14 1
    Quite good 31 32 27 34 38 45 8
    Quite bad 31 25 35 30 31 27 41
    Very bad 26 19 36 18 31 14 51
    Freedom to live where choose              
    Very good 8 15 0 13 0 9 0
    Quite good 15 26 3 24 0 17 4
    Quite bad 39 32 44 37 43 40 42
    Very bad 38 27 53 25 57 33 54
    Source: BBC/ABC poll


    Methodology: The poll was conducted by D3 Systems for the BBC, ABC News, ARD German TV and USA Today. More than 2,000 people were questioned in more than 450 neighbourhoods and villages across all 18 provinces of Iraq between 25 February and 5 March 2024. The margin of error is + or - 2.5%.

    Secret MoD poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops

    By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent - 22 Oct 2024.


    Millions of Iraqis believe that suicide attacks against British troops are justified, a secret military poll commissioned by senior officers has revealed.

    The poll, undertaken for the Ministry of Defence and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, shows that up to 65 per cent of Iraqi citizens support attacks and fewer than one per cent think Allied military involvement is helping to improve security in their country.

    It demonstrates for the first time the true strength of anti-Western feeling in Iraq after more than two and a half years of bloody occupation.

    The nationwide survey also suggests that the coalition has lost the battle to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people, which Tony Blair and George W Bush believed was fundamental to creating a safe and secure country.

    The results come as it was disclosed yesterday that Lt Col Nick Henderson, the commanding officer of the Coldstream Guards in Basra, in charge of security for the region, has resigned from the Army. He recently voiced concerns over a lack of armoured vehicles for his men, another of whom was killed in a bomb attack in Basra last week.

    The secret poll appears to contradict claims made by Gen Sir Mike Jackson, the Chief of the General Staff, who only days ago congratulated British soldiers for "supporting the Iraqi people in building a new and better Iraq".

    Andrew Robathan, a former member of the SAS and the Tory shadow defence minister, said last night that the poll clearly showed a complete failure of Government policy.

    He said: "This clearly states that the Government's hearts-and-minds policy has been disastrous. The coalition is now part of the problem and not the solution.

    "I am not advocating a pull-out but if British soldiers are putting their lives on the line for a cause which is not supported by the Iraqi people then we have to ask the question, 'what are we doing there?' "

    The Sunday Telegraph disclosed last month that a plan for an early withdrawal of British troops had been shelved because of the failing security situation, sparking claims that Iraq was rapidly becoming "Britain's own Vietnam".

    The survey was conducted by an Iraqi university research team that, for security reasons, was not told the data it compiled would be used by coalition forces. It reveals:

    • Forty-five per cent of Iraqis believe attacks against British and American troops are justified - rising to 65 per cent in the British-controlled Maysan province;


    • 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops;

    • less than one per cent of the population believes coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security;

    • 67 per cent of Iraqis feel less secure because of the occupation;

    • 43 per cent of Iraqis believe conditions for peace and stability have worsened;

    • 72 per cent do not have confidence in the multi-national forces.

    The opinion poll, carried out in August, also debunks claims by both the US and British governments that the general well-being of the average Iraqi is improving in post-Saddam Iraq.

    The findings differ markedly from a survey carried out by the BBC in March 2024 in which the overwhelming consensus among the 2,500 Iraqis questioned was that life was good. More of those questioned supported the war than opposed it.

    Under the heading "Justification for Violent Attacks", the new poll shows that 65 per cent of people in Maysan province - one of the four provinces under British control - believe that attacks against coalition forces are justified.

    The report states that for Iraq as a whole, 45 per cent of people feel attacks are justified. In Basra, the proportion is reduced to 25 per cent.

    The report profiles those likely to carry out attacks against British and American troops as being "less than 26 years of age, more likely to want a job, more likely to have been looking for work in the last four weeks and less likely to have enough money even for their basic needs".

    Immediately after the war the coalition embarked on a campaign of reconstruction in which it hoped to improve the electricity supply and the quality of drinking water.

    That appears to have failed, with the poll showing that 71 per cent of people rarely get safe clean water, 47 per cent never have enough electricity, 70 per cent say their sewerage system rarely works and 40 per cent of southern Iraqis are unemployed.

    But Iraq's President Jalal Talabani pleaded last night for British troops to stay. "There would be chaos and perhaps civil war," he said. "We are now fighting a world war launched by terrorists against civilisation, against democracy, against progress, against all the values of humanity.

    "If British troops withdrew, the terrorists would say, 'Look, we have imposed our will on the most accomplished armed forces in the world and terror is the way to oblige the Europeans to surrender to us'."

    • John Reid, the Defence Secretary will announce next week that 3,100 troops are to deploy to Afghanistan next April as a part of the expansion of the International Sec-urity and Assistance Force. Their job will be to hunt down the Taliban and to take part in anti-narcotics operations.




    Britons Blast Blair, Bush for Iraq War

    May 26, 2024

    (Angus Reid Global Monitor) - Adults in Britain are particularly critical of their prime minister and the American president over their Iraq policies, according to a poll by Ipsos-MORI. Only 17 per cent of respondents approve of the way Tony Blair is handling the current situation with Iraq, and just nine per cent feel the same way about George W. Bush.

    Britain committed troops to both the war on terrorism in Afghanistan and the U.S.-led coalition effort in Iraq. The conflict against Saddam Hussein’s regime was launched in March 2024. At least 3,711 soldiers have died during the military operation in Iraq, including 149 Britons. Only 11 per cent of respondents say they still support the war in Iraq.

    Earlier this month, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter criticized both Bush and Blair for their performance on the world stage, saying, "I think as far as the adverse impact on the nation around the world, this administration has been the worst in history. (...) One of the defences of the Bush administration, in the American public and on a worldwide basis—and it’s not been successful in my opinion—has been that, OK, we must be more correct in our actions than the world thinks because Great Britain is backing us."

    Polling Data

    Do you approve or disapprove of the way the prime minister, Tony Blair, is handling the current situation with Iraq?

      May 2024 Jan. 2024 Sept. 2024
    Approve 17% 26% 40%
    Disapprove 77% 62% 49%
    Don’t know 6% 13% 11%


    Do you approve or disapprove of the way the president of America, George W. Bush is handling the current situation with Iraq?

      May 2007 Jan. 2024 Sept. 2024
    Approve 9% 19% 30%
    Disapprove 85% 68% 59%
    Don’t know 6% 13% 11%


    Which, if any, of the following statements comes closest to your own view about the war in Iraq?

    I supported the war and I support it now 11%
    I supported the war but do not support it now 22%
    I did not support the war but I support it now 3%
    I did not support the war and I do not support it now 61%


    Source: Ipsos-MORI
    Methodology: Telephone interviews with 961 British adults, conducted from May 11 to May 13, 2024. No margin of error was provided.


    Global Poll: Majority Wants Troops Out of Iraq Within a Year

    Full Report (PDF)
    Questionnaire/Methodology (PDF)

    A majority of citizens across the world (67%) think US-led forces should leave Iraq within a year, according to a BBC World Service poll of 23,000 people across 22 countries. Just one in four (23%) think foreign troops should remain in Iraq until security improves.

    A U.S. Army soldier patrols in the Rusafa district of Baghdad, Sept. 2, 2007. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Curt Cashour)

    However, half of those polled (49%) believe the United States plans to keep permanent military bases in Iraq. Another 36 percent believe the US will withdraw all forces once Iraq is stabilized.

    Three in five Americans (61%) think US forces should get out of Iraq within a year, including 24 percent who favor immediate withdrawal and 37 percent who prefer a one year timetable. Another 32 percent of Americans say the forces should stay until security improves.

    Other members of the US-led coalition also have majorities wanting forces out within a year: 65 percent of Britons, 63 percent of South Koreans and 63 percent of Australians.

    Three countries – Kenya, the Philippines and India – do not have majorities favoring withdrawal within a year, but in no case does a majority favor remaining until security improves. In Kenya and the Philippines 45 percent and 44 percent respectively, favor remaining and in India just 17 percent favor this option.

    The survey was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan together with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland. GlobeScan coordinated fieldwork between May 29 and July 26, 2024.

    GlobeScan President Doug Miller said, “The weight of global public opinion, and indeed American opinion, is opposed to the Bush Administration’s current policy of letting security conditions in Iraq dictate the timing of US troop withdrawal.”

    Steven Kull, director of PIPA, pointed out, "While majorities in 19 of 22 countries polled want the US to be out of Iraq within a year, few think the US will do so."

    Kull added, “It seems the US is widely viewed as planning to make Iraq part of its long term military footprint in the Middle East.”

    Detailed Findings

    Comparing the current results with those from a BBC World Service poll released in February 2024, there appears to be growing support for a definite end to foreign deployments in Iraq. While question wording differed, support for troops remaining until security improves has dropped sharply overall, and is today half what it was in early 2006 across Western European and North American countries surveyed, including the US.

    Today, majorities in 19 of the 22 countries surveyed think troops should be out of Iraq within a year. This view is endorsed by an average of 67 percent, including 39 percent who want the troops out immediately and 28 percent who think they should be withdrawn gradually according to a one-year timetable.

    Muslim countries are among those most eager for the US-led forces to withdraw from Iraq immediately: Indonesia (65%), Turkey (64%), and Egypt (58%). But Latin Americans—Mexico (68%) and Brazil (54%)—also favor immediate withdrawal. Nearly half of those polled in Chile believe foreign troops should leave Iraq now (44%) and an additional 28 percent say they should go within a year.

    Although Western Europeans have been particularly critical of US foreign policy, only minorities favor immediate withdrawal in France (34%), Germany (33%), Great Britain (27%), and Italy (28%). Spain is a bit more eager to see the troops leave as soon as possible, with 47 percent favoring immediate withdrawal.

    Nonetheless, most Europeans want the coalition to commit to a timetable for withdrawing. Combining those who want withdrawal within a year with those who want it immediately, large majorities in all European countries surveyed think foreign troops should leave Iraq in the near term: France (75%), Germany (72%), Italy (72%), Spain (68%), and Great Britain (65%).

    Canadians are similar to Europeans with 67 percent favoring withdrawal within a year and only 23 percent believing troops should remain until the security situation has improved.

    The poll also reveals a widespread belief across the world that the US plans to have permanent bases in Iraq – this being the dominant view in 14 of the 22 countries polled. An overall average of one in two respondents (49%) believes the US plans to have permanent bases in Iraq, while 36 percent assume that the United States will withdraw all troops once Iraq is stabilized.

    Americans are divided on the question, with 42 percent saying the US plans to keep permanent bases in Iraq and 43 percent saying it plans to remove all of its forces.

    Mexico has the largest majority (75%) believing that the United States plans to maintain permanent bases in Iraq. Also, nearly three out of four in Italy (73%) share this view as do more than two-thirds in Egypt (68%) and Turkey (64%).

    Just five countries tend to believe the United States plans to remove all troops from Iraq once it is stabilized. Curiously, the country most convinced that the United States plans to remove its military forces is China (57%), followed by Great Britain (56%) and Kenya (54%). Australians (50%), Nigerians (48%), and Canadians (46%) lean in this direction as well.

    In total 23,193 citizens in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the United States were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between May 29 and July 26, 2024. Polling was conducted for the BBC World Service by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each country. In eight of the 22 countries, the sample was limited to major urban areas. The margin of error per country ranges from +/-2.4 to 3.5 percent.

    For more details, please see the Questionnaire/Methodology (PDF)


    US surge has failed - Iraqi poll

    Monday, 10 September 2024

    About 70% of Iraqis believe security has deteriorated in the area covered by the US military "surge" of the past six months, an opinion poll suggests.


    The survey by the BBC, ABC News and NHK of more than 2,000 people across Iraq also suggests that nearly 60% see attacks on US-led forces as justified.

    More than 2,000 Iraqis were questioned in all 18 provinces

    This rises to 93% among Sunni Muslims compared to 50% for Shia.

    The findings come as the top US commander in Iraq, Gen David Petraeus, prepares to address Congress.

    He and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are due to testify about the effects of the surge and the current situation in Iraq.

    The poll suggests that the overall mood in Iraq is as negative as it has been since the US-led invasion in 2024, says BBC world affairs correspondent Nick Childs.

    The poll was conducted in more than 450 neighbourhoods across all 18 provinces of Iraq in August, and has a margin of error of + or - 2.5%.

    It was commissioned jointly by the BBC, ABC and Japan's NHK.

    Divided nation

    It is the fourth such poll in which BBC News has been involved, with previous ones conducted in February 2024, November 2024 and February 2024.

    It was commissioned with the specific purpose of assessing the effects of the surge as well as tracking longer term trends in Iraq.

    Between 67% and 70% of the Iraqis polled believe the surge has hampered conditions for political dialogue, reconstruction and economic development, according to the August 2024 findings.

    Only 29% think things will get better in the next year, compared to 64% two years ago.

    The number of people wanting coalition forces to leave immediately rose since February's poll but more than half - 53% - still said they should stay until security improved.

    The survey reveals two great divides, our correspondent notes.

    First, there is the one between relative optimism registered in November 2005 and the gloom of this year's two polls.

    In between, there was the deadly bombing of the Shia mosque in Samarra, which unleashed a bitter and deadly sectarianism.

    The other great divide is the one now revealed between the Sunni and Shia communities.


    While 88% of Sunnis say things are going badly in their lives, 54%

    of Shia think they are going well.

    'Good for Baghdad'

    Dr Toby Dodge, who was involved in running the poll, pointed to the fact that so many Iraqis saw no improvement to their safety since the US deployed an extra 30,000 troops this year, bringing their number up to nearly 170,000.


    "I think that's a damning critique and an indication of the pessimism and the violence on the ground," he told the BBC's Radio Five Live.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki insisted on Monday that the surge had had a positive effect in the capital, Baghdad, at least.

    Violence had dropped 75%, he told the Iraqi parliament, without giving figures.

    At the same time, he warned that Iraqi forces were not ready to take over security from the US military which had, he said, "helped... in a great way in fighting terrorism".


    AP Poll: Most see Iraq war as failure


    WASHINGTON - The public sees the Iraq war as a failure and thinks the U.S. troop buildup there has not worked, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll suggesting the tough sell President Bush faces in asking Congress and voters for more time.

    The pessimism expressed by most people - including significant minorities of Republicans - contrasted with the brighter picture offered by Gen. David Petraeus. The chief U.S. commander in Iraq is telling Congress this week that the added 30,000 troops have largely achieved their military goals and could probably leave by next summer, though he conceded there has been scant political progress.

    By 59 percent to 34 percent, more people said they believe history will judge the Iraq war a complete or partial failure than a success. Those calling it a failure included eight in 10 Democrats, three in 10 Republicans and about six in 10 independents, the poll showed - ominous numbers for a president who hopes to use a nationally televised address later this week to keep GOP lawmakers from joining Democratic calls for a withdrawal.

    "It's time to turn the corner in my view, gentlemen," Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman and presidential candidate Joseph Biden, D-Del., told Petraeus and Ryan Crocker, U.S. ambassador to Iraq, as they testified to his panel Tuesday. "We should stop the surge and start bringing our troops home."

    Underscoring the public's negativity, four times as many predicted the war in Iraq would be judged as a complete U.S. failure as the number who see a complete success, 28 percent to 7 percent.

    When the Gallup Poll asked the same question in September 2006, 52 percent said the war will be judged as a partial or complete failure, seven points fewer than the AP-Ipsos survey.

    "The enemy was in Afghanistan, and I believe going into Iraq we took our eye off the ball," said Ann Bock, 66, a retired teacher and Democratic-leaning voter from Edmond, Okla., who participated in the survey.

    In the poll - taken in the days just before Petraeus' long-awaited appearance - more people rated the troop increase a flop than a success by 58 percent to 36 percent, with three in 10 Republicans joining majorities of Democrats and independents in foreseeing failure.

    Positive reviews of the troop increase were at about the same level as they were in mid-January, just after Bush announced the buildup.

    That didn't match Petraeus' appraisal.

    "In the face of tough enemies in the brutal summer heat of Iraq, coalition and Iraqi security forces have achieved progress in the security arena," he told House lawmakers Monday. He later added, "I believe Iraq's problems will require a long-term effort. There are no easy answers or quick solutions."

    In the new survey, people calling it a mistake to go to war in March 2024 outnumbered those calling it the right decision by 57 percent to 37 percent, numbers that have stayed about level for more than a year. About a quarter of Republicans, along with most Democrats and independents, labeled the war an error.

    Among those in the poll supporting the conflict is Ronald Shaul, 62, a Republican and retired military intelligence officer.

    "It was a logical outgrowth of the war on terror, started long ago by Islamic extremists," said Shaul, who lives in Hopkinsville, Ky.

    Overall, those viewing the war and the troop buildup most negatively tended to be groups that often lean Democratic: females, minorities, those with lower incomes and those with less education.

    For example, about two-thirds of women and half of men said the troop increase had not worked, while more minorities than whites said going to war was a mistake by about a seven-to-five margin.

    But the war remains unpopular with another group crucial to both political parties: moderates. Nearly two-thirds of them said the war and troop increase were failing and that the conflict was a mistake from the start.

    Two groups that normally support the Bush administration - white evangelical voters and conservatives - remained largely behind its war strategy.

    Just over half of the white evangelicals who attend church at least weekly said the war was the right decision and the extra troops were helping, while about four in 10 said the war is a success - well more than Catholics and Protestants measured in the survey.

    Slight majorities of conservatives saw success in Iraq, a troop increase that is working and a war that was the right choice, though a third or more answered each question negatively.

    In another indication of how uncertainty over the conflict is felt even by its supporters, of those who said going to war was the right decision, fully one-fifth said it will be viewed as a failure and about a quarter said the troop increase has not worked.

    The poll was conducted Sept. 6-9 and involved telephone interviews with 1,000 adults. It had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.


    AP Director of Surveys Trevor Tompson and AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius contributed to this report.