TBILISI - Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili remains the most popular political leader in Georgia with a 69 percent approval rating, while 52 percent rate the Georgian Dream Coalition as the “party” closest to them, according to the findings of a public opinion survey released here today by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). Forty-seven percent named the United National Movement (UNM) as the strongest opposition party in the country.
Speaker Davit Usupashvili has a 61 percent approval rating, while MPs Eka Beselia and Tina Khidasheli have 52 percent and 51percent approval ratings respectively. Minority Leader Davit Bakradze is the most popular opposition leader, with a favorable rating of 48 percent.
The Georgian Dream Coalition retains a 5 to 1 lead over UNM with 10 percent of respondents saying that UNM was the party closest to them. The combined response of those who answered “no party,” “refuse to answer” or “don’t know” to the same question was 32 percent.
Seventy-five percent of those surveyed think it is important for Georgia to have a strong opposition; UNM was identified as the strongest opposition party by 47 percent of those surveyed. Respondents also cited Georgian Dream at 5 percent, Democratic Movement United Georgia at 4 percent, followed by the Labor Party, Christian Democratic
Movement and Free Georgia tied at 3 percent each as opposition parties.
In the presidential race Giorgi Margvelashvili currently leads with 29 percent to 10 percent over an unnamed UNM candidate; followed by Nino Burjanadze with 5 percent, Giorgi Targamadze with 4 percent, and Shalva Natelashvili with Salome Zurabishvili tied at 3 percent each. A combined 46 percent said “don’t know”, “no candidate”, “refuse
to answer” and “other” (supporting candidates who are not running).
Luis Navarro, NDI’s country director in Georgia, said, “Prime Minister Ivanishvili, Speaker David Usupashvili and the Georgian Dream Coalition remain the most popular political players in Georgia. Georgians also believe that having a strong opposition is important to the country and continue to identify UNM as the strongest opposition party.
At this early stage of the presidential race, Giorgi Margvelashvili holds a 3 to 1 advantage over an unnamed UNM candidate; however the choice that will be made by nearly half of respondents on Election Day is as yet unknown.”
These findings were part of a broader survey that found that voters care most about jobs, territorial integrity and health care. 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 results reflect data collected from June 12-26 in face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgian speakers that included 2,338 completed interviews. The survey has an average margin of error of +/-2.9%.
NDI’s survey work is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC).