The messenger logo

IRI Voter Poll: UNM Popular but Ivanishvili Gains Ground

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, December 8
Results of the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) large-scale survey of Georgian public opinion were released by Georgian media companies on Wednesday. Having interviewed 4,000 people from October 27 to November 11, 2011 the results of the survey showed the opinion of Georgian citizens towards socio-political issues. On the question which political party they would vote for if parliamentary elections were held the next day, 48% named the United National Movement (UNM), 18% named Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team, 8% - Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) and 3% chose the Labor Party. Only parties that can manage to overcome the 5% barrier can enter parliament.

Of those surveyed, 32% said they would have voted for any UNM candidate for presidency, while 27% named Bidzina Ivanishvili. Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of CDM was named as the most trusted opposition leader with 22% of votes Ivanishvili got in the same category 21%. The leader of the Labor Party Shalva Natelahsvili and leader of Our Georgia – Free Democrats Irakli Alasania received 4% and 3% correspondingly. The survey also showed that 80% of those interviewed support Georgia’s aspiration to join NATO. The majority of them see US and the European Union (EU) as Georgia’s major partners, while Russia was named as Georgia’s enemy which still continues occupying Georgian territories.

MP’s from UNM welcomed public trust towards the Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, governments and the ruling party. “It is more important for us to help the public in overcoming all obstacles like unemployment, socio-economic safety and other related issues, rather than our ratings,” ruling party MP Petre Tsiskarishvili said emphasizing that the UNM works on problematic issues. MP Goka Gabashvili didn’t find IRI’s results different from other similar surveys carried out in recent times where UNM continues holding the leading position. “The fact that Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has huge trust among political leaders proves how the UNM realizes and reacts to problems and challenges the citizens have nowadays,” Gabashvili said stressing how the public appraises Georgia’s internal and foreign policy.

CDM members welcomed Giorgi Targamadze’s victory over other opposition leaders. As CDM’s Giorgi Akhvlediani stated the results have proved people’s trust towards their political strategy. While leader of the Georgian Party Jondi Bagaturia expressed his mistrust towards the IRI claiming that “falsification of survey results has become a tradition in Georgia.”

The results of the survey were sent to political figures but as IRI told The Messenger the official database would become available for the public on their web page in a fortnight. Political analyst Soso Tsintsadze found the rates of UNM and Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team quite low. Explaining that there are neither appropriate mechanisms of holding research in Georgia, Tsintsadze found it difficult to rely on the recent opinion poll. “The situation is developing so quickly in Georgia that the results of the IRI may change in the near future, even after Bidzina Ivanishvili's officially establishes his movement on December 11,” said the analyst stressing that if Ivanishvili restores his citizenship he will have more prospects and a relevantly higher rating.