On September 17, the International Republican Institute (IRI) released results of a public opinion survey, which showed that some six weeks ahead of October 31 parliamentary polls, 36% of the respondents support the Georgian Dream, while 15% support United National Movement, the arch-nemesis of the governing party. The poll also revealed that economic issues, in particular unemployment, are the major concerns for the majority of Georgians.
Politicians from the ruling Georgian Dream and the opposition parties expressed mixed reactions to the poll.
Parliament Chairman Archil Talakvadze said GD rating is higher than those shown in the IRI survey. “There are several authoritative polls which demonstrate that GD enjoys 56% and higher support from our society,” – Talakvadze stated.
Commenting on the poll finding according to which unemployment is one of the major concerns for the public, Economy Minister Natia Turnava said “unemployment, of course, is one of the most serious challenges we work against on a daily basis. Creating new jobs is the main priority of all our governmental programs.” Turnava seconded Speaker Talakvadze, noting that “more than 60% of voters support GD”.
In a stiffly-worded comment, alluding to the recent NDI poll, another GD lawmaker Irakli Kobakhidze said the polling organization which obtains a response from a mere 27% of respondents on who they intend to vote for “lacks self-respect.”
The survey has been relatively well-received among the leaders of the opposition parties, highlighting that the incumbent governing party does not have the necessary support to independently form the next government.
MP Roman Gotsiridze, leader of the United National Movement, noted that respondents not revealing which parties they intend to vote for, do mostly support the opposition. “Therefore, GD should accept the defeat and commence with the transfer of power process,” Gotsiridze said.
MP Sergi Kapanadze of European Georgia reckoned that according to the polls, Georgian society is ready for fundamental changes. Kapanadze also highlighted that “half of the populace think that the country is developing in the wrong direction”
The methodological aspects of the polls were criticized by an opposition leader Giorgi Vashadze. Strategy Aghmashenebeli leader disfavored starting the survey with COVID-19-related questions. “The main polls will be on October 31, when the people will decide to change the government,” Vashadze concluded.