The National Democratic Institute (NDI), a U.S.-founded non-profit, released a new public opinion survey, which shows Georgian respondents attitudes towards a broad range of issues, including national issues and economy, the Government’s COVID-19 pandemic handling, NATO and EU integration, the performance of institutions and October 31, 2020 parliamentary polls.
Survey finds 38% of Georgians believing that the country is going in the wrong direction, a 6-point rise compared to the previous August 2020 survey. Those believing the country is heading in the right direction decreased from 39% to 32% in the same period, while 22% say Georgia is not changing at all.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for NDI between December 17 and 24, 2020 with the financial assistance of the UK Aid, and was carried out through nationwide mobile phone interviews (excluding occupied territories) with 2,053 respondents and has an average margin of error plus, minus 1.1%.
Economy Looms Large
Jobs (46%), poverty (37%), rising prices (31%), territorial integrity (22%), COVID-19 (16%), education (11%) were named by the respondents as the top national issues, as they had up to three issues to name.
According to the poll, compared to 2016, 23% of respondents say they are economically better, 32% reckon they are worse off, while 45% think the situation remained unchanged for them.
Asked about biggest economic issues, the respondents named unemployment 59% (67% in August 2020 survey), rising prices – 45% (33% in August, 2020), poverty – 28% (22% in Aug.2020), Georgian currency Lari devaluation – 27% (18% in August).
24% of the respondents reported they are unemployed.
EU, NATO Integration
80% of the surveyed Georgians say they support EU membership, up from 76% reported in June 2020 survey. 8% of respondents disapprove of Georgia becoming a member of the 27-member bloc, while 12% don’t know. Youngsters in the 18-34 age group are the most supportive to EU integration, with 84% approval.
Support for NATO integration stands at 74% ( up from 69% in June 2020). 9% disapprove of Georgia becoming a member of the North-Atlantic Alliance, while 16% don’t know. The 18-34 age group is reportedly the most supportive of NATO integration with 78% approval.
Healthcare, COVID – Anti-vaxxing Feelings Strong
Asked about the biggest healthcare issues, 46% say the cost of medicine, 25% says various COVID-related issues, 16% report accessibility of hospitals on COVID, 14% say lack of qualification of medics, 13% reports availability of hospitals and healthcare services and 13% says the cost of medical care/visit to the doctor (the respondents could give up to three answers).
60% of respondents credit the Georgian Government for “good” handling of the COVID pandemic, while 33 assess the government’s pandemic performance as ‘bad.’ Rural communities are more likely to praise the Government’s COVID handling with 66% approval and 27% disapproval. The Tbilisites are least satisfied, with 55% of residents of the Georgian capital evaluating the Government’s COVID-19 handling as good, while 38% regard it as bad.
Asked about their feelings about the COVID-19 pandemic in Georgia, the plurality of Georgians – 39% – say the worst is yet to come, 33% reckon the worst is behind, while 6% say COVID is not a big problem.
According to the poll, 41% of respondents would vaccinate themselves and their kids (up from 38% in June 2020), 41% would not vaccinate (down from 46% in June), while 17% don’t know. Men are more likely to get vaccinated, than women, and people with higher than secondary education are more likely to agree on vaccination than those with lower education, NDI reports.
Youngsters and Tbilisites are slightly less likely to vaccinate than other demographic groups. In Tbilisi, 39% would agree and 42% disagree, as opposed to other urban’s 43%/38% ratio, and rural communities’ 42%/42% ratio. Only 39% of the 18-34 group would say yes to vaccination (45% would say no). In comparison, 55+ age group’s 44% would vaccinate, 38% would not.
In regards to how informed they are regarding COVID-related needs, 86% says they have enough information on how to get medical assistant regarding the virus, 77% say they have enough information on how to treat COVID-19 at home, 65% knows where to get a free/affordable test for COVID.
Performance of Institutions, Parliamentary Polls
Asked about the Government performance, 50% assess it as good (significant rise from 30% in November 2019), while 38% regard it as bad (a significant decline from 64% in November 2019).
The performance of Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia is regarded as good by 46% (up from 21% in November 2019), and as bad by 17% (down from 35% in Nov2019). 32% regard it as average.
The Central Election Commission’s performance is viewed as good by 24%, as bad by 31% and as average by 27%. 18% don’t know or refuse to answer.
15% see the Parliament’s performance as good, as opposed to 34% seeing it as bad. The figures stand at 15% and 36% for the President, respectively. As for the Court, only 13% assess the judiciary’s performance as good, as opposed to 29% seeing it as bad. 30% assess courts as average, 29% refuse to answer/don’t know.
According to the survey, 76% of respondents say “in order for the new parliament to represent interests of people like me, it is important that all elected political parties participate in the parliament,” 13% disagree with this statement, while 12% refuse to answer/don’t know.
82% agree with the statement, that “in order for the new parliament to represent interests of people like me, it is important for all political parties to collaborate with each other.”
Asked about polling station environment at October 31, 2020 parliamentary elections, 94% say it was well ordered, 89% say the election officials were well prepared, 10% say it was overcrowded (89% say it was not), 7% say it was intimidating (92% say it was not).