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Public Attitudes in NDI-Commissioned Opinion Survey

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U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) released its public opinion survey results, which shows respondents’ attitudes towards broad range of issues, among them foreign policy, government performance and environment policy.

The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for NDI between December 6 and December 20 with the financial assistance of the UK Aid, and was carried out through nationwide face-to-face interviews (excluding occupied territories) with 2,205 respondents and has an average margin of error plus, minus 2.1%.

According to the survey, the number of respondents who think that Georgia is going in the “wrong direction” has decreased to 38%, compared to 40% in June 2018. 29% of respondents think that Georgia is moving in the “right direction,” an eleven percentage point increase compared to June 2018, while 30% think that Georgia is “not changing at all” (36% in June 2018).

The survey results demonstrate that Georgians see improvement in freedom of speech, healthcare, EU and NATO membership, media independence, and education. However, they see a worsening picture with regard to the court system, corruption, crime, pensions, jobs, poverty, territorial integrity, and rising prices.

The poll also shows that respondents perceive jobs (51%), poverty (38%), rising prices/inflation (37%), territorial integrity (27%), pensions (25%), wages (18%), and affordable healthcare (15%), as the most pressing issues; these seven priority issues have not changed over the past years and were represented in various sequences in all previous polls.

On environmental issues, Georgians are most concerned about air pollution (57%), food safety (44%), and the presence of hazardous materials and toxins in products (40%). Residents of Tbilisi identify air pollution as the topmost issue (76%), followed by food safety (54%) and the presence of hazardous materials and toxins in products (36%).

According to the survey, 50% of respondents believe that the government is providing high quality education to all citizens, but a large majority (73%) says hiring outside tutors is essential to pass the university enrollment exams.

Education is not viewed as a key factor in getting a good job, with the plurality of Georgians (37%) reporting that connections matter most. Only 23% of respondents think professional skills and experience is the most important factor for getting a good job.

A total of 43% perceive an increase in crime rates in the last 10 years. Drug-related crimes, theft/burglary/ robbery, and traffic accidents top the list of the most widespread crimes in Georgia.

Foreign Policy

The number of respondents, who support the government’s stated goal to join the European Union, has increased to 83% from 81% in June 2018. Support for joining the European Union is above 80% across the country with the only exception of settlements with predominantly ethnic minority populations – 58%.

78% of respondents said they approve the government’s stated goal to join NATO, a three percentage point increase compared to June 2018. 13% are against joining NATO, down from 17% in June 2018. Support for NATO membership decreased slightly to 48% among respondents in the settlements with predominantly ethnic minority populations (49% in June 2018).

Media

Imedi and Rustavi 2 were named as the main sources of information about Georgian politics and current events by 66% and 61% of respondents, respectively. They are followed by TV Pirveli with 39%, and the Georgian Public Broadcaster with 34%.

Imedi and Rustavi 2 remain to be the most trusted television stations with 26% and 20%, respectively. TV Pirveli enjoys 15% trust, while the figures for the Georgian Public Broadcaster and Obiektivi stand at 12% and 11%, respectively.

NDI plans to publish part of the public opinion poll involving political rankings on Wednesday.

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