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Poll: More Iraqis optimistic, dislike U.S.

Survey done mostly before recent cycle of violence


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CNN's Judy Woodruff looks at a CNN/USA Today Gallup Poll on how Iraqis feel about Saddam Hussein's ouster and the U.S.-led occupation.
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- More than half of Iraqis in a survey done primarily in March and early April said their nation will be better off in five years because of the U.S.-led invasion, but 55 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of the United States.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll focused on the future of Iraq as a result of the invasion and the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

Most interviews were done between March 22 and April 9 -- before the latest flare-up of violence that brought some of the deadliest fighting since the end of major combat nearly a year ago.

Iraqi interviewers conducted face-to-face surveys with 3,444 adults in Arabic and Kurdish in respondents' homes. The poll covered urban and rural areas throughout Iraq, representing about 93 percent of the population. It has a sampling error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

Some results from the poll were released Wednesday, including responses that showed nearly half of the Iraqis polled said they believed the U.S.-led war had done more harm than good. However, 61 percent of respondents said Saddam's ouster made it worth the hardships they had endured. (Full story)

Despite their struggles and the challenges of forming a new government, 63 percent of respondents said they were convinced Iraq will be better off in five years, while 20 percent said they were unsure, according to results released Thursday. Sixty-five percent said they believed their immediate locale will be better off, the poll found.

However, at the time of the survey, a majority were not fans of the United States or Britain.

Fifty-five percent had an unfavorable opinion of the United States, and 56 percent had an unfavorable view of Britain.

Fifty percent of the respondents said the United States is not serious about establishing democracy in Iraq, 54 percent said the United States is not serious about improving the Iraqi economy and 57 percent said the United States won't let Iraq determine its political future.

Fifty-five percent said they believe the U.S. military won't leave Iraq unless Iraqis force them out, the survey showed.

Among other results released Thursday were opinions on Saddam, who has been in U.S. custody since December. Eighty-three percent of respondents agreed he should be put on trial, and about equal numbers said they believed him probably guilty of murder and torture -- 84 percent -- and war crimes -- 80 percent.

A majority, 56 percent, said they believed the former dictator will get a fair trial, and 61 percent would support the death penalty for him if he is found guilty. Eighty-six percent said they believed his regime never will resurface.

Asked about the planned June 30 transfer of power from the U.S.-led Coalition Provisional Authority to a transitional government, 58 percent favored a caretaker panel chosen by the United Nations, while 20 percent said it should go to the American-appointed Iraqi Governing Council.

Asked if they would accept various types of government, 54 percent said a parliamentary democracy would be acceptable, 42 percent said they would accept a council of elders and 20 percent said they would accept an Islamic theocracy. One percent said a Taliban-style regime would be acceptable.

While 73 percent of respondents said a new government should have freedom of religion, 58 percent opposed the separation of religion from the political government.

Asked whether Iraqi women should have more freedom than before the invasion, 53 percent of respondents said they felt women should take a more traditional role than before, and 26 percent said they felt women should be allowed more freedom.


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