NDI POLL: ECONOMIC CONCERNS PREVAIL; PANDEMIC CHALLENGE AT THE FOREFRONT
TBILISI – Poll results released today by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia show that Georgians remain concerned about economic challenges (72 percent) and, for the first time, covid-19 (16 percent). Georgians credit the government for managing the pandemic effectively. They are also concerned about the future. Georgians are looking to their leaders, including the newly elected parliament, to respond to the challenges ahead.
As in previous years, data shows dissatisfaction about the state of the country’s economy. Approximately a quarter (24 percent) of Georgians report that they are unemployed, consistent with NDI’s August 2020 poll and likely an indicator of the continued economic impact of the covid-19 pandemic. Only a quarter feel they are better off economically since 2016; 32 percent said they are worse off, while 45 percent believe their situation remains unchanged.
“For years, our polls have shown that Georgians have perceived little progress on the top national issues of concern -- employment, poverty, inflation -- and they express a clear desire that their elected representatives work together to address these problems,” - said Alan Gillam, NDI Georgia Country Director.
Public health is also a significant priority, with cost of medicine (56 percent) and covid-19 related concerns (41 percent) at the top. Georgians are confident that if they or their family member had a covid-19 related emergency, they would know how to get medical assistance (86 percent), how to provide treatment at home (77 percent), and where to get a free or affordable test (65 percent). A majority (60 percent) credits the government with handling the pandemic well, likely contributing to high evaluations of the government’s and prime minister’s performance. Looking ahead, however, a plurality of Georgians (39 percent) think the worst is yet to come, and almost half (41 percent) continue to have reservations with regard to vaccination rollout.
“Government efforts to inform the public and communicate key public health messages appear to have had an impact. Moving forward, lawmakers and leaders should heed the concerns of the public and work towards policy solutions and communications that build public confidence in the economic and public health responses to the global pandemic,” - according to Gillam.
Georgians will look to their newly elected leaders to address the challenges ahead. Georgians’ views of the parliament have improved. Approximately 51 percent of Georgians rated the legislature’s performance as good (15 percent) or average (36 percent), up from 36 percent in November 2019. However, citizens remain skeptical of parliament’s willingness to address citizen concerns (41 percent do not believe parliament will work on issues that matter to them); deploy consultative processes (a quarter and a third of Georgians do not think the new parliament will engage citizens or CSOs more actively, respectively); and behave ethically (only 36 percent agreed). The majority believes that for the new parliament to represent citizen interests, it is important for political parties to collaborate (82 percent) and for all elected parties to participate in parliament (76 percent). This is consistent across party supporters.
“The onus is on the new convocation of parliament to build confidence among the people of Georgia that it will be effective in engaging the public and delivering solutions to their pressing concerns and the big challenges ahead,” said Gillam.
NDI surveys public opinion to help Georgian stakeholders diagnose and address issues of public concern by providing accurate, unbiased and statistically sound data. This poll aims to capture the most relevant information to foster the development of responsive policies and governance. A wide range of leaders from across the political spectrum has reported that the polls are important to their work and encourage continued polling. The results reflect data collected between December 17-24, through telephone interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgia’s adult population, excluding occupied territories, that included 2,053 completed interviews. The average margin of error is +/- 1.1 percent. Respondents were selected using the random-digit-dial method.
NDI’s survey work is funded by UK aid from the British people.
This poll was carried out by CRRC Georgia.