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Main Takeaways of IRI-commissioned Public Opinion Poll

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68% of respondents say the country is moving “in the wrong direction” and 71% answer that bad economic situation is the main problem facing the country, according to the recent public opinion poll released by the International Republican Institute (IRI).

Poll says that compared to the June 2019 results, public support towards the European Union (from 75% to 80%) and NATO (from 68% to 71%) increased insignificantly. 83% of respondents name Russia as the greatest threat to the country.

The poll, released on November 18, was coordinated by Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization for the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the fieldwork was carried out  (carried by Institute of Polling and Marketing) in a period between September 11 and October 14, 2019. The survey was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interviews (excluding occupied territories) with 1,500 respondents and has a margin of error of plus/minus 2.5%.

Political ratings

According to the part of the public opinion survey, which examines voting intentions of respondents if parliamentary polls were held this Sunday, the ruling Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) has 23% support among respondents (26% in June 2019); National Movement – 15% (22% in June 2019); European Georgia – 5% (7%); Labor Party – 5% (the same in June 2019); Alliance of Patriots – 4% (5%); Civil Movement – 3% (2%); Democratic Movement – United Georgia – 2% (the same as in June 2019).

4% of respondents said they would vote for none of the parties and 32% either did not know or refused to answer. If their desirable party did not run in the elections, 1% of respondents said that they would not vote for any party and 60% either did not know, or refused to answer.   

Favorable/unfavorable ratings of the political leaders

Ex-speaker Davit Bakradze (European Georgia), Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze (GDDG) and Davit Usupashvili of Development Movement lead the pack with Bakradze having the best ration (57/36), followed by Kaladze (49/42) and Usupashvili (47/41). The second tier consists of Grigol Vashadze of the United Opposition (41/50) and Alexander Elisashvili of Civil Movement (39/36).

According to the poll results, 70% of respondents consider President Salome Zurabishvili as the most unfavorable politician and 23% – as favorable. She is followed by Zurab Japaridze, leader of Girchi (66/14), Gigi Ugulava of European Georgia and Nino Burjanadze of Democratic Movement – United Georgia (59/13 each). Bidzina Ivanishvili, leader of the ruling party, was named by 57% and 32% of respondents as unfavorable and favorable politician, respectively. He is followed by Irakli Garibashvili, defense minister and Georgian Dream’s political secretary with 55/33.

Electoral system and administration

The survey also covered the issue of transition to proportional electoral system, promised by Bidzina Ivanishvili following the June 20, 2019 protests.

68% of respondents have heard about the proportional electoral system. 78% of those respondents, who have heard about the proportional electoral system, support holding of the 2020 parliamentary elections through the proportional electoral system (47% – strongly support, 31% – somewhat support).

Asked whether they trust the activities of the Central Election Commission, 13% of respondents answered that that fully trust it, 33% – somewhat trust, 25% – somewhat distrust, 20% – fully distrust and 9% – has no answer.

Trust in institutions

According to the poll, the Georgian army enjoys the highest support with 86%, compared to 87% in June 2019, followed by the Georgian Orthodox Church – 85% (89% in June 2019); Georgian media enjoys 72% (previously 70%) of trust; police – 59% (52%); education system – 51% (40%);  local authorities – 46% (48%); parliament and government – 37% each (37% and 35% in June 2019, respectively).

Unemployment key concern

68% of respondents think that Georgia is moving in the “wrong direction” (66% in June 2019). 22% think that the country is moving in the “right direction” (22% in June 2019). 10% either did not know or refused to answer.

Like the previous survey, the new one also shows that unemployment remains the top concern for most of the respondents (53%), followed by high prices (18%), poverty (6%), territorial integrity (3%), various economic issues (3%) and external conflicts/war (3%).

EU, NATO, Russia relations

An insignificant increase was registered in support towards membership in Euro-Atlantic institutions: 80% of respondents are supportive of Georgia’s European Union membership (75% in June 2019), whereas the support for joining NATO stands at 71% (68% in June 2019).

27% of respondents believe that Georgia’s foreign policy approach should be only “pro-EU/pro-Western” (down from 30% in June 2019), while 49% think that it should be “pro-Western” but the country should, simultaneously, “keep up relations with Russia” (up from 47% in June 2019). 12% of respondents want Georgia to be “pro-Russian but remain an ally of the EU/the West” (up from 8% in June 2019), and 2% would like to see Georgia “pro-Russian” only (same as in June 2019).

83% of respondents say that Russia is the greatest political threat and 72% answer that Russia is the greatest economic threat (79% and 57%, respectively, in June 2019).

Number of respondents who think that Russia’s aggression against Georgia is still going on has increased by six percentage points to 77%. 15% think that Russia’s aggression is over, but likely to resume (17% in June 2019). 4% of respondents think that Russia’s aggression is over and unlikely to resume (5% in June 2019).

Georgian government’s handling of relations with Russia is assessed positively by 34% of respondents (up from 33% in June 2019) and negatively by 56% (52% in June 2019).

Media preferences

Georgian television channels remain the main source of information about current international affairs for 83% of respondents (85% in June 2019), followed by social media and Georgian internet news – 21% and 10%, respectively (20% and 14% in June 2019).

5% of respondents named Russian TV channels as their main source of information about international affairs (4% in June 2019).

39% of respondents said that they trust Imedi TV (37% in June 2019); 18% – Mtavari Arkhi (established in September 2019); 13% – Rustavi 2 TV (34% in June 2019); 6% – TV Pirveli (4% in June 2019).

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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