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NDI polling reveals Margvelashvili leads in the polls

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Friday, September 27
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) has published the results of its September 2013 survey carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC).

When asked "Whom would you most like to see as President of Georgia?" 39 % of respondents named Georgian Dream candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili and 18 % cited United National Movement (UNM) candidate Davit Bakradze, followed by 7 % for Democratic Movement United Georgia candidate Nino Burjanadze and 3 % for Labour Party candidate Shalva Natelashvili and Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) candidate Giorgi Targamadze.

According to NDI, the combined 26 % of those who answered "don't know" "refuse to answer" or "no candidate" is large enough to determine both the final results of the first round and whether there will be a second round election.

"As we approach the October 27th presidential election, Giorgi Margvelashvili, holds a more than 2 to 1 lead over his closest rival. Davit Bakradze currently holds a better than 2 to 1 margin over the rest of the opposition candidates. However, whether or not there will be a second round election will be determined by those who have not yet expressed their support for any candidate." Luis Navarro, NDIís country director in Georgia, said.

Besides questions concerning the presidential candidates, the survey suggested that Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili remains the most popular political leader in Georgia with a 69 % approval rating, while over 50 % rate the Georgian Dream Coalition as the party closest to them. Speaker of parliament Davit Usupashvili and Georgian Dream presidential candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili are the next most popular coalition leaders with 60 % and 56 % approval ratings while Catholicos Patriarch Ilia II leads the list of all public figures with a 94% approval rating.

Defense Minister Irakli Alasania was named as the minister with the best performance followed by Minister of Internal Affairs Irakli Gharibashvili and Minister of Justice Tea Tsulukiani.

81 % of those surveyed think it is important for Georgia to have a strong opposition. The UNM was identified as the strongest opposition party by 42 % of those surveyed followed by Democratic Movement-United Georgia at 8 %; and Labor Party with 5 %.

Among opposition leaders, UNM leader Davit Bakradze is the most popular, with a favorable rating of 49 %, followed by Giorgi Targamadze at 36 %, Shalva Natelashvili at 34 % and Nino Burjanadze at 33 %.

NDIís survey work is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). 3,838 people were interviewed during research. A nationally representative sample of Georgian speakers was taken between August 18th and September 3rd. Polling was done across Georgia, in every region and in both rural and urban settings. According to NDI, there is a strong chance of a second round in the presidential election.

These findings were part of a broader survey that found that voters care most about jobs, Georgia's territorial integrity and health care. The survey looked at issues of public importance, perceptions of democracy and attitudes toward reforms, as well as various domestic and foreign policy issues.

The survey has an average margin of error of +/-2% as the experts say.