Public Attitudes in Georgia: Results of a November 2012 Survey

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

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NDI Poll: Georgians Say Elections Were Well Run and Country Headed in Right Direction

A survey of public opinion in Georgia released by NDI shows that 79 percent of Georgians think the Oct. 1 parliamentary elections were run well compared to 12 percent who thought there was some level of falsification.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents view Georgia as headed in the right direction, while 11 percent said the country is going in the wrong direction. Jobs (mentioned by 56 percent) and affordable health care (mentioned by 35 percent) remain the top two most important issues.

Attitudes toward democracy have remained statistically the same since NDI’s August poll. Asked whether Georgia is a democracy now, 41 percent of respondents said yes, compared to 40 percent who said no.

Expectations for majoritarian members of parliament (MPs) have changed dramatically from previous polling. For the first time, a majority of citizens now believe that majoritarian members will be active and represent the interests of citizens. In August, a majority expected their majoritarian MP will “do what the party tells him/her to do” and less than 40 percent expected that he/she would be active and represent constituents’ interests.

"Since our last poll in August, Georgians made history by achieving their first democratic electoral transfer of power. A majority of Georgians assess the elections as well run and their country as headed in the right direction,” said Luis Navarro, NDI’s country director in Georgia. “While their priority issues and views of democracy have largely remained the same, their views on how majoritarian members will represent them in parliament have reversed and reflect their positive expectations.”

The results reflect data collected from Nov. 14-25 in face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgians that included 1,947 completed interviews.  The survey looks at issues of public importance, perceptions of democracy and attitudes toward reforms, as well as various domestic and foreign policy issues. The survey has an average margin of error of +/-3%.

Ivanishvili, Usupashvili and Georgian Dream Coalition Receive their Highest Ever Approval Ratings in NDI Polls

Following Georgia’s first democratic transfer of power, a landmark event in the nation’s history, Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili received an 80 percent favorable rating and

Speaker of Parliament Davit Usupashvili received a 63 percent favorable rating, according to the findings of a public opinion survey released by NDI.

Sixty-three percent of respondents identified the Georgian Dream coalition as the party closest to them. President Mikheil Saakashvili received a favorable rating of 29 percent, and the United National Movement was identified by 10 percent of those surveyed as the party closest to them.

The NDI survey was designed to measure Georgian voters’ attitudes toward the Oct. 1 parliamentary elections and the performance of politicians and political parties.

These findings were part of a broader survey that found that voters care most about jobs and affordable healthcare.

Luis Navarro, NDI’s country director in Georgia, said, “The Georgian Dream Coalition and Prime Minister Ivanisvhili have received their highest ever approval ratings in NDI polls from Georgians following the October parliamentary elections. In addition, a majority of both Georgian Dream and UNM supporters see the country as going in the right direction."

In an effort to better understand the priorities and perspectives of respondents who answered "don't know," "refuse to answer" or “no party” to the question of which party is closest to you, NDI is releasing party crosstab information about Georgian respondent groups. A crosstab shows the relationship between two questions, such as “in which direction Georgia is going” compared with “which party is closest to you.”

In the past, NDI has shared findings on parties’ and politicians’ ratings privately with political parties.  It is releasing these results publicly today to avoid their misinterpretation through the leaking of partial findings

NDI’s survey work is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC).

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