IRI Poll: Public Satisfied with Govt’s COVID Response, Concerned with Economy

A new public opinion poll published by the International Republican Institute reveals that Georgians are overwhelmingly satisfied with the government’s overall response to COVID-19 (41% very satisfied, 38% somewhat satisfied, 13% somewhat unsatisfied, 7% very unsatisfied), but remain concerned with the state of the economy in the country, especially in light of coronavirus.

The poll, released on August 12, was coordinated by Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization for the International Republican Institute (IRI) and the fieldwork was carried out by Institute of Polling and Marketing in a period between June 4 and July 2 through face-to-face interviews with 1,500 respondents and has a margin of error of plus/minus 2.5%. The survey was funded by the US Agency for International Development.

Pandemic and its Economic Impact

Assessing the change of economic situation of their households since the pandemic outbreak, a quarter of respondents say it “worsened a lot,” 42% say it “worsened somewhat,” it stayed the same for 29%, while it improved for a mere 3%.

Speaking of the economic situation in the country since the COVID outbreak, 40% say it worsened a lot, 42% perceive it worsened somewhat, while 15% state it remained the same.

22% say their households’ economic situation currently is very bad, 43% see it as somewhat bad, 32% say it is somewhat good, while 2% regard it as very good.

Pandemic and Government Response

19% of respondents are very satisfied with the government’s efforts to address the economic consequences of COVID-19, 37% are somewhat satisfied, 18% are very unsatisfied, 24% are somewhat unsatisfied.

21% are very satisfied with the government’s social programs to mitigate COVID economic fallout, 37% are somewhat satisfied, 22% are somewhat unsatisfied, while 17% are very unsatisfied.

Evaluating the effectiveness of institutions amid pandemic, National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) tops the rank with 64% assessing it as very effective, while 30% say it worked somewhat effective. Health Ministry comes the second with 55% (very effective) and 36% (somewhat effective), Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia’s Office ranks third with 46% and 35%.

37% fully back Georgian Orthodox Church’s decision to hold rituals during the pandemic, 32% somewhat approve it, 14% and 8% say they somewhat or fully disapprove it, respectively; 9% don’t know/refuse to answer.

Nearly half of respondents – 47% – said the United States has been most helpful to Georgia amid COVID pandemic, with China coming the second with 6% and the European Union scoring third with 4%.

National Issues – Economy Looms Large

Economic issues remain the major concern for the majority of Georgians, with unemployment being the main problem for 46%, followed by the cost of living/high prices for 17%, poverty – 10%, economy in a general sense – 6% and COVID pandemic – 4%. Occupied territories was named by 3%.

According to 31% of respondents, unemployment is the most important problem facing their town/village; 10% named roads, 9% – economy, 9% – drinking water, 5% – ecology, 3% – poverty.

29% of respondents identify unemployment as a major issue facing their household, 17% name economy, 7% – low salaries, 5% – high prices.

9% of respondents say economic development is the biggest challenge for Georgia’s democratic development, followed by unemployment – 6%, return of lost territories – 5%, problems in education – 5%, freedom of speech -5%. 41% – don’t know/refuse to answer.

Local Governance

The poll also refers to the popular attitudes towards local government bodies.

13% of respondents are fully satisfied with their local Sakrebulo’s (city/municipality council) performance, 44% are somewhat satisfied, 20% are somewhat dissatisfied, 16% are fully dissatisfied.

Performance satisfaction figures for mayor’s offices are similar. 14% of respondents say they are satisfied, 44% are somewhat satisfied, 22% are somewhat dissatisfied, while 14% are fully dissatisfied.

In the capital city of Tbilisi, 29% name environment/pollution as the main problem Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze needs to address. 17% of Tbilisites identify illegal constructions as the second most pressing issue, followed by poor infrastructure, and public transport named by 15% each; traffic jams – 14% and unemployment – 9%.

Media and Sources of Information

Asked which TV station’s news/political information they trusted most, 40% say pro-governmental TV Imedi, 16% choose pro-opposition Mtavari Arkhi, 14% name Rustavi 2, 8% say TV Pirveli (first mentions, the respondents could give two answers).

85% of respondents use Georgian TV to receive the news about international affairs, 33% use social media, 10% use Georgian news sites, Russian TV stations, and Georgian print media were named by 4% each (respondents could give multiple responses).

21% of those surveyed say Georgian mass media sources are free to express various political views, 50% state media expresses its view somewhat free, 16% think that Georgian media is not very free to show various political views, while 7% say Georgian media is not free at all in this regard.

As for internet usage, 62% access the internet every day, while 25% never do.

Asked which social media sites they use most often, 94% of internet users say Facebook, 22% say Instagram, 5% name Twitter (respondents could provide three answers).

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


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