TBILISI – The Georgian Dream coalition remains the country’s dominant political force and its leaders continue to be popular, with 42 percent of citizens identifying the coalition as the party closest to them. However, there was a significant drop in the individual favorability ratings of almost all political figures, in a recent poll conducted by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Georgia.
Minister of Defense Irakli Alasania is the most popular political figure with a 60 percent approval rating. Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili is the next most popular leader, with an approval rating of 54 percent, followed by the Speaker of the Parliament, David Usupashvili, with an approval rating of 51 percent.
The most popular opposition leader is the Parliamentary Minority Leader David Bakradze, who is tied at 48 percent with the President, Giorgi Margvelashvili. The most popular female politician is Minister of Justice Thea Tsouloukiani with a 44 percent approval rating. The newly elected mayor of Tbilisi, David Narmania, received a nationwide favorability rating of 45 percent.
In addition, Georgians continue to believe that it is important that the country has a strong opposition; 82 percent of citizens agreed with this statement. Fifty-one percent consider the United National Movement (UNM) as the strongest opposition party; followed by the Nino Burjanadze-United Opposition coalition and the Alliance for Patriotic Georgia party, at five percent and four percent, respectively.
When asked about expectations of their majoritarian Member of Parliament, 50 percent of Georgians say they expect he or she will do what the party wants them to do, while only 35 percent say that he or she will represent voters’ interests. Fifty-five percent were not able to name their majoritarian MP and 53 percent did not know if their majoritarian MP had a district office.
“It is notable that more than half of the electorate is unfamiliar with the MPs meant to represent its interests,” said Kristina Wilfore, NDI’s Interim Country Director in Georgia, “There is a need for elected officials to reconnect with their constituents by focusing on the important national and local issues identified by Georgians themselves.”
These findings were part of a broader survey that found that Georgian voters care most about jobs, territorial integrity and poverty. 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 July 23 through Aug. 7 in face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgian speakers that included 3,338 completed interviews. The survey has an average margin of error of +/-2.9%.