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Democracy perception data reveals interesting trends

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Monday, June 25
Who supports democracy and who opposes democracy in the state? This was the main focus of the research undertaken by the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC) in October 2011. The results and outcome of which were presented on June 22.

2,287 people were polled in both cities and villages throughout Georgia.

Based on the research results, Georgian society is divided into two groups- one that supports the country’s democratic course (38%) and those who dislike Georgia's democratic progress (22%)

The research was interesting, as it revealed "some interesting" points concerning the publics' perception of democracy. For example, the greatest number of those (more than 70%) with democratic views have positive attitudes concerning the current Georgian leadership and the court system. They believe that the situation regarding the media is acceptable and believe that Georgia is advancing and the recent political trajectory is positive. They also believe that people must control the government. However, they are against holding or participating in street rallies. Thus, they condemn an accepted and world-wide method of expressing civil society's opinions to the authorities. Those who have been named as non-democrats had a largely negative assessment of the country’s political, economic and social situation, their trust regarding state institutions, the court, media and NGO sector was very low.

It was also interesting that both so-called democrats and non-democrats are pro Western. But more democrats (82%) than non-democrats (48%) support Georgia’s participation to NATO.

A great number of self-described democrats were satisfied with their economic conditions and well-being, while non-democrats expressed disagreement and dissatisfaction over their current economic reality.

On The Messenger question, how good is the perception of democracy in Georgia and how high is the risk if people define democracy based on their economic conditions rather than objectively? The reporter of the presentation stated that in general people in Georgia define democracy in a correct way (people believe that democracy includes institutions such as an impartial court, fair elections, freedom of choice and expression and so on). However, he has also outlined that those who support democracy support the current Georgian leadership’s course and decisions in all directions, while opponents disagree and dislike democracy and almost all steps made by the ruling administration.

As many know, democracy itself is not based on sympathy or dislike of some political groups. The research revealed (the reporter also mentioned this) that political attitudes in Georgia might have an influence on the perception and definition of democracy.