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Poll Shows Nine in 10 Iraqis Want to Vote Dec. 15

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

BAGHDAD, Dec. 11, 2005 – Almost 90 percent of Iraqis want to vote in Dec. 15 national elections, according to an Iraqi poll.

A total of 89 percent of respondents to the poll indicated they want to vote in the election of a permanent democratic government.

The intent to vote is strong across ethnic and religious lines. The Kurds have the highest percentage, with 95 percent telling pollsters that they want to vote. Sunni Arabs have the lowest percentage, but that is still pegged at 87 percent. A total of 91 percent of Shiite Arabs, the largest religious group in the country, said they will vote.

The results are part of an Iraqi poll to gauge trends in the nation. Interviews for the poll were conducted in November. Pollsters say there is a 2 percent margin of error in the results. The voting turnout will probably be lower, officials said.

The poll did show a disconnect among religious and ethnic groups and confidence in the future. Eighty-four percent of Shiite Arabs and 86 percent of Kurds are confident the government will improve in the future. But only 34 percent of Sunni Arabs surveyed believe the government will improve conditions.

The poll indicated Iraqis believe security and crime to be the top issue in the country today. Unemployment is the second most pressing issue Iraqis cite. Improving electrical availability dropped a place after being ranked second in the last poll. Officials said cooler weather in October probably moved it down on the list of pressing issues. Farther down on the list of concerns are improving food distribution and the presence of coalition forces. Iraqis are also worried about the availability of clean water, and sewage and trash disposal.

The poll indicates high confidence in Iraqi security forces. Seventy percent of those surveyed believe Iraqi security forces, army and police, are winning the war against terrorists in Iraq. The vast majority of those surveyed also believe the Iraqi army and police will be more capable next year.

More than 90 percent of those surveyed believe there is no valid reason for anyone to attack Iraqi forces. The Iraqi view of coalition forces is more complex. A total of 77 percent of those surveyed oppose the presence of coalition forces in Iraq, and almost half said they believe there is a rationale for attacks on coalition forces, with 40 percent saying there is no excuse for such attacks.

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