Gallup poll

Prime Minister Al-Sudani garners record-high approval rating

NEWSROOM – In a comprehensive survey by the Washington-based Gallup Foundation, Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia Al-Sudani has achieved an approval rating of 69% among Iraqis, marking the highest level of support for a prime minister in the country since 2012. This surge in approval spans across various demographics, including younger Iraqis who were instrumental in the 2019 protest movements.

Gallup’s latest findings shed light on a significant shift in Iraqi sentiment towards their government and national institutions amidst a backdrop of regional instability. In 2023, 56% of Iraqis expressed confidence in their national government, a stark increase from previous years and a notable figure in the Middle East and North Africa region, where only Iranians (60%) and Jordanians (77%) reported higher levels of trust in their governments.

This newfound optimism in Iraq comes despite recent challenges, including the potential destabilizing effects of regional conflicts and retaliatory actions by the U.S. against Iran-aligned groups. The United Nations has warned that such tensions risk undermining Iraq’s strides towards stability.

In a remarkable turnaround from the depths of the Islamic State’s advances in 2014 and the low approval rates during the Tishreen protests in 2019, a majority of Iraqis now view their leadership favorably. Notably, this improvement is predominantly seen outside of Iraqi Kurdistan, where approval of the federal government remains comparatively lower at 29%.

The Kurdistan Region’s government blames Baghdad for chronic salary delays and the stopper on Kurdistan’s oil exports. These have seen Kurdistan Region public sector workers go unpaid for months at a time.

Al-Sudani, who took office in October 2022 following years of political turmoil, has not only garnered widespread approval but also bridged generational divides, with 68% of Iraqis under 30 viewing his performance positively. His approval rating even extends into Iraqi Kurdistan, where a majority (55%) support him, contrasting with the 71% approval in the rest of Iraq.

Despite these positive developments, challenges persist, particularly in perceptions of corruption and electoral integrity. A staggering 86% of Iraqis believe corruption is widespread in their government, and 76% doubt the honesty of elections, highlighting critical areas for reform.

The survey also points to a growing confidence in key state institutions, with record-high support for the local police (82%) and the military (also 82%), reflecting a strengthening of Iraq’s security apparatus. Moreover, Iraqis are increasingly optimistic about their economy, with half reporting improvements in their local economy and 39% viewing it as a good time to find a job, despite regional disparities in economic perceptions and ongoing concerns about affordability of basic needs.

As Iraq approaches the 21st anniversary of the U.S. invasion, Gallup’s findings indicate a cautiously optimistic outlook among Iraqis about their country’s direction, underscored by an acknowledgment of the long road ahead towards sustainable stability and prosperity.