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Last Updated: Monday, 19 March 2007, 12:12 GMT
Pessimism 'growing among Iraqis'
Children outside US-run medical centre in Sadr City, Baghdad.
69% of those polled said medical care provision was still poor
Iraqis are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the future of their country and unhappy about their lives, a survey suggests.

Less than 40% of those polled said things were good in their lives, compared to 71% two years ago.

However, a majority of those questioned said that, despite daily violence, they did not believe Iraq was in a state of civil war.

More than 2,000 people took part in the BBC/ABC News poll.

Coalition graph

The poll paints a picture of an increasingly polarised Iraq, with acutely diverging views between Sunni Arabs and Shias - Sunnis appearing more pessimistic.

There are also regional differences, with pessimism most keenly felt across central Iraq, including Baghdad, where Sunni Arabs are most numerous.

But despite their differences, 58% overall said they wanted Iraq to remain a unified country. Almost all said they did not want Iraqi to be broken up along sectarian lines.

The poll produced conflicting views on the role of the US and its allies.

Only 18% said they had confidence in US and coalition troops, and 51% said they thought attacks on coalition forces were justified.

However, only 35% said foreign troops should leave Iraq now. A further 63% said they should go only after security has improved.

'Deteriorating lives'

The poll was commissioned by the BBC, ABC News, ARD German TV and USA Today. It was conducted by D3 Systems.

Regions map
People were questioned in more than 450 neighbourhoods and villages across all 18 provinces between 25 February and 5 March.

The findings contrast sharply with those of a similar poll in 2005, a year when elections were taking place.

Asked now whether they thought reconstruction efforts in Iraq had been effective, some 67% said they felt they had not.

And just 38% said the situation in the country was better than before the 2003 war, while 50% said it was worse.

Many said the quality of their lives was deteriorating, with a particularly high proportion (88%) saying electricity and fuel supplies were poor.


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Security remains a serious concern, with only 26% saying they felt safe in their own neighbourhoods.

More than half of those polled said that they have not gone to markets or crowded areas and often stayed at home in order to avoid trouble.

Many said they often stopped their children from going to school.

Ethnic divide

Ethnic differences were particularly evident in attitudes towards the execution of Saddam Hussein, who was a Sunni leader in a predominantly Shia state.

Absolutely right:
2007: 22%
2005: 19%
2004: 20%
Somewhat right:
2007: 25%
2005: 28%
2004: 29%
Somewhat wrong:
2007: 19%
2005: 17%
2004: 13%
Absolutely wrong:
2007: 34%
2005: 33%
2004: 26%
Refused/don't know:
2007: 0%
2005: 4%
2004: 13%

Of Sunni Arabs questioned, more than 95% said they regarded the manner of his death as inappropriate and unlikely to help the cause of reconciliation.

Shias predominantly took the opposite view - 82% said the manner of death was appropriate.

But considerably fewer - 62% - thought his execution would lead to reconciliation.

A large number of Sunnis, 48%, said they thought Iraq should have a strong leader in five years' time, compared to 46% who said they wanted a democracy.

Only 11% of Shias sought a strong leader, with 52% calling for democracy and 37% for an Islamic state.

What life is like for those living in Baghdad

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