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New government poll shows strong lead for UNM

By Salome Modebadze
Monday, January 30
According to the results of a poll conducted by American firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, 65% of potential voters said they would vote for the ruling United National Movement (UNM) in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

The results of poll were released by the administration on January 28. The nationwide survey was conducted through 1200 in-person interviews, taking place in mid-January. The majority of the interviewees were almost certain to participate in elections and vote for particular candidates.

On the question of which party respondents would support if the Parliamentary elections were held the next day, UNM emerged victorious, followed by businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili’s public movement Georgian Dream, with 25% of the vote. The Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) received 4% of the vote, while other opposition parties the Labour Party, Our Georgia – Free Democrats and the Republican Party received approximately 1% each.

According to the survey, the number of potential opposition voters decreased by 2%, from 35 to 33%, after Georgian Dream entered the political arena in the fall of 2011.

Meanwhile, 68% of interviewees expressed approval for President Saakashvili’s foreign policies, calling Russia and its Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, “a real, on-going threat to Georgia.” In addition, Saakashvili’s relations with the West, the country’s economic performance, as well as the government's efforts to improve standards of living were positively estimated by the majority of voters. Fifty-nine percent of those interviewed said that the President has fulfilled his election promises so far.

Members of the administration welcomed the results of the survey, calling it “a signal” for UNM to work more effectively on the issues, as “there is still much to be done in the country.”

On its website, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner lists President Saakashvili, the UNM, and Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava among its clients. Gia Khukhashvili, from the newly-founded think tank Georgian Development Research Institute (GDRI), said his organization intends to conduct their own public opinion survey, in order to “break the monopoly” currently in place, with results only regularly released by organizations hired by the government.