NDI Poll: Lack of Confidence in Political Parties Ahead 2024 Elections

The new public opinion poll commissioned by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a U.S. nonprofit organization, finds that the overwhelming majority of Georgians support EU integration, poverty and economic problems are the main causes of insecurity in Georgia, and emigration trends are seen as worrisome, among other findings.

The survey, published on December 11, was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for NDI between October 12-November 4, 2023 with the financial assistance of the UK’s good governance fund, and was carried out through nationwide face-to-face survey (excluding occupied territories) with 2,068 respondents and has an average margin of error plus, minus 2,2%.

Lacking Confidence in Political Parties, Institutions

The poll finds that 54% of the respondents believe that the government of Georgia is “doing a good job”, which is a 10 percentage points increase from the previous poll.

The Prime Minister’s work is evaluated as being “average” by 37% and “good” by 29% of responders. Meanwhile, the President’s performance is seen as “average” by 41% and “good” by only 16%. In addition, the Parliament’s work is evaluated as “average” by 44% and “good” by 13% of respondents.

62% of respondents believe that none of the political parties present in Georgia represent their interests and 53%, think that the MPs do not take the opinions of the people like them into account.

NDI reports that 42% of Georgia’s citizens remain “politically undecided”. NDI notes that the majority do not know or do not say which party is closest to them: “Declared support for individual parties is so low that it cannot be taken as a guide to the outcome of future elections.”

When asked to rate the parties individually, 19% name the ruling party Georgian Dream as the party closest to them. Meanwhile, only 4% named the United National Movement, the largest opposition party in Georgia, and 12% named other smaller opposition parties. Notably, ethnic minorities and youth are more likely to say that no party is close to them.

Support for the EU integration

NDI has registered a decline from the 2022 polls in the opinion of residents, who declare that Georgia should have exclusively pro-Western foreign policy. 37% think that Georgia’s foreign policy should only be pro-Western, while 36% think that it should be pro-Western, but the country should maintain good relations with Russia.

For the majority of Georgians – exactly 79%, the EU remains the undisputed destination of choice. When asked if the government is doing everything in its power to achieve EU membership, 36% say it isn’t doing enough, 29% say it is doing everything in its power and 16% believe the government is doing nothing to achieve this goal.

NATO support has declined a little, with 67% still approving Georgia’s goal to join NATO, down from 73% in March of 2023.

NDI notes that every second Georgian says that EU and NATO membership is best for Georgia’s national security. When asked which countries and unions Georgia should have the closest political cooperation with, 60% say the EU, 38% the US, 20% Russia, and 17% NATO.

Majority of the respondents believe that EU and USA should be Georgia’s closest economic allies. 59% have named the EU, 34% say US, 25% Russia and 18% Turkey.

Among the top threats to Georgia’s national security, majority name Russian Military Aggression (27%), Occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia (13%), and Russian propaganda (11%).

Feeling of security and the state of democracy in Georgia

When respondents were asked about their opinion on the direction in which Georgia is moving, 33% said that Georgia is moving in the right direction, while 37% disagreed and noted that the movement is in the wrong direction. 45% remain optimistic about Georgia’s future.

46% of respondents say that Georgia is a democracy, which is an increase of 16% compared to 2022. 69% believe that life in Georgia is safe. The main causes of insecurity are poverty (40%), unemployment (30%), inflation (28%) and crime (26%).

National and local level concerns

According to the survey, rising prices, jobs and poverty remain the top national concerns. When asked about the most important national problem facing respondents and their families, 37% said inflation, 35% said jobs, 28% said poverty, and 23% said territorial integrity.

The survey found that respondents believe the situation in Georgia has improved over the past 10 years in the areas of health care (45% say the situation is better), freedom of speech (41%), women’s rights (39%), and education (33%). Meanwhile, the situation has worsened in terms of poverty (49% say the situation is worse than before) and crime (48%). Regarding territorial integrity, 56% say it has stayed the same, while 36% say it has gotten worse.

An overwhelming 83% of respondents believe that mental health problems such as depression and anxiety are a problem in Georgia. Yet, 86% of respondents say they have not even thought about seeking help from a mental health professional in the past year. Notably, 90% – an absolute majority – believe that mental health services should be covered by government insurance.

At the local level, homeless animals (22%), roads (22%), clean streets (15%), and traffic (14%) are cited as the top infrastructure issues in cities and towns. Meanwhile, air pollution (42%) and food safety (23) top the list of environmental concerns.

Economic situation in Georgia, the issue of emigration

For 49% of respondents, the economy is in average condition. The biggest problems facing the Georgian economy are unemployment (58%), low wages (48%), inflation (43%) and poverty (23%).

Notably, compared to four years ago, people report that their households are earning more, but despite earning more, the majority say they can afford the same or less than they did five years ago.

The poll shows that one Georgian in ten (12% of respondents) can’t afford to buy food, while one in four (28% of respondents) can afford to buy food but nothing else. Most respondents – 58% – do not have confidence in the government’s ability to solve Georgia’s economic problems.

According to the survey, 80% of respondents believe that emigration has a negative impact on Georgia. 62% say that they personally know someone who has emigrated in the last 12 months. Among the reasons for emigration, 65% cite low salaries in Georgia, 56% – lack of jobs, 28% – high prices and cost of living, and 24% – poor living standards.

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


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