U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) released its public opinion survey, which shows respondents’ attitudes towards broad range of issues, among them political parties, foreign policy and government performance.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for NDI between March 20 and April 4 with the financial assistance of the UK Aid.
The poll was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interviews (excluding occupied territories of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia) with 2,194 respondents and has a margin of error plus, minus 2.2%.
According to the survey, 26% of respondents said the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia was closest to them, compared to the United National Movement’s (UNM) 9%. The European Georgia party enjoys 4% support, followed by the Labor party and the Alliance of Patriots with 3% each.
In NDI/CRRC’s December opinion poll, the ruling party was named by 31% of respondents as the party closest to them, followed by UNM – 10%, the European Georgia – 4% and the Alliance of Patriots – 3%.
Asked which party they would vote for if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, 31% of likely voters named the ruling party; 9% – UNM; 5% – European Georgia; 9% – other parties. 8% of respondents responded “no party,” and 29% responded “don’t know.”
Foreign Policy, National Security
The number of respondents, who support the government’s stated goal to join the European Union, has increased to 75% from 72% in December 2017. Support for joining the European Union is high across the country (highest in Tbilisi – 81%), with the only exception of settlements with predominantly ethnic minority populations – 50%.
65% of respondents said they approve the government’s stated goal to join NATO, a percentage point increase compared to December 2017. 20% are against joining NATO, down from 26% in December 2017. Support for NATO membership decreased to 26% from 36% in December 2017 among respondents in the settlements with predominantly ethnic minority populations.
On the question of Georgia’s foreign policy, 65% (60% in December 2017) chose the answer: “Georgia should join the European Union,” while 21% (29% in December 2017) responded: “Georgia should join the Eurasian Union.” 7% of respondents agree with neither of the statements.
43% of Georgians believe the dissolution of the Soviet Union was a “good thing,” while 42 percent feel it was bad.
Asked which country or organization poses the biggest threat to Georgia, 63% of respondents named Russia, followed by the Turkey (8%) and the United States (5%). 33% identified the Russian military aggression as the top threat to Georgia’s national security, followed by the occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region (11%), terrorism (9%), Russian propaganda (7%).
According to the survey, the number of respondents who think Georgia is going in the “wrong direction” is 39%, same as in December 2017. 29% of respondents think that Georgia is moving in the “right direction,” a three percentage point increase compared to December 2017, while 29% think that Georgia is “not changing at all” (32% in December 2017).
According to the survey, 52% of respondents evaluated the performance of the Georgian Dream government as “average,” with 14% evaluating it as “well” and 33% as “badly.”
44% of respondents believe there is a problem of corruption in central government, 35% in local government, and 29 percent in state institutions, such as schools, public registrars, and hospitals.
A total of 63% perceive an increase in crime since October 2016.
Public service halls, army, and the church are viewed as the best performing national institutions, although the church’s favorability has significantly dropped to 56% from almost 80% in 2015.
The lowest performing national institutions are the courts, with a 30% negative evaluation and only 14% positive, and the Parliament, which 35% of citizens assess negatively.
With regard to the job performance of national leaders, Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, President Giorgi Margvelashvili, and Minority Leader Davit Bakradze were assessed most positively. Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze earned 53% positive evaluation from Tbilisi respondents.
When asked about individual politicians, 46% of Georgians have a favorable opinion of Healthcare Minister David Sergeenko, 34% of Minority Leader Davit Bakradze, and 31% of Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani, the top three of those polled.
Television remains to be the main source of information about Georgian politics and current events for 72% of respondents, followed by internet – 18%.
Imedi and Rustavi 2 are the two most trusted television stations with 33% and 27%, respectively (the two channels were tied in December 2017 with 46%). The Georgian Public Broadcaster enjoys 4% trust, while the figures for TV Pirveli and Obiektivi stand at 2% each.