Improved security and economic conditions have reversed Iraqis’ spiral of despair, sharply improving hopes for the country’s future. Yet deep problems remain in terms of security, living conditions, reconciliation and political progress alike.
Fifty-five percent of Iraqis say things in their own lives are going well, well up from 39 percent as recently as August. More, 62 percent, rate local security positively, up 19 points. And the number who expect conditions nationally to improve in the year ahead has doubled, to 46 percent in this new national poll by ABC News, the BBC, ARD German TV and the Japanese broadcaster NHK.
Without directly crediting the surge in U.S. forces, fewer report security as the main problem in their own lives-25 percent, nearly half its peak last spring. Forty-six percent say local security has improved in the past six months, nearly double last summer’s level.
The number of Iraqis who feel entirely unsafe in their own area has dropped by two-thirds, to 10 percent. And with Sunni Arab buy-in, U.S.-funded Awakening Councils, created to provide local security, are more popular than the Iraqi government itself.
Even more striking is the halt in worsening views. In August, Iraqis by 61-11 percent said security in the country had gotten worse, not better, in the previous six months. Today, by 36-26 percent, more say security has improved. The new positive margin is not large. But the 35-point drop in views that security is worsening is the single largest change in this poll.
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