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NDI releases latest survey of public opinion in Georgia

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, May 6
Georgians continue to strongly support the idea of joining European Union (EU), also many believe that Russia is a real and existing threat to the country. This is just a small part of the survey of public opinion released by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) on May 5th.

“Georgians’ support for EU membership remains strong and their view of Russia as a real and existing threat has increased. Georgians place a high priority on public accountability, whether it pertains to the actions of the former government, a policy of the current government or their views about the role of a person without office as a decision maker in the government,” said NDI Director Luis Navarro.

Jobs, territorial integrity and poverty remain to be the most important issues for the population. Respondents were also asked to name three most important local issues. Absolute majority believes that the cost of communal services, roads and availability of local medical services the most problematic issues.

62% of respondents think that former Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili continues to be a decision-maker in the actions of the government, and 41% out of these respondents approve of the fact, while 49 percent disapprove.

A majority, 46% of the respondents, said the level of crime has not changed in the country since October 2012 and 33% said crime has increased. The current prosecutions of former government officials was approved by 59%, they believe the prosecutions are based on the principle of holding government officials accountable for their actions. While 22% believe that the current prosecutions of former UNM government leaders is primarily based upon the desire for political retribution.

On the question: Which direction is Georgia going? 33% of the respondents answered that the country is going mainly in the right direction and 38% said Georgia is not changing at all, while only 7% believes that the country is not moving in the correct direction.

46% of the survey participants believe that Georgia is a democratic country now, while 41% think that it is not.

Georgian MPs have already commented on the results of the survey. Head of the legal committee of the Parliament Vakhtan Khmaladze welcomed that fact that the survey showed increased support for Georgia’s EU integration process. MP Davit Bakradze from the United National Movement said the survey displays how the government has failed to fulfil its duties.

“Regrettably, the new government was unable to improve the situation with regard to employment or economic development. Moreover, the situation has become even worse than it was two years ago... this is what the survey showed.” Bakdradze said. He also added that his party has an action plan to improve the economy and create jobs for the people.

3,942 respondents were interviewed for the NDI survey which looks at issues of public importance, perceptions of democracy and attitudes toward reforms, as well as various domestic and foreign policy issues. The interviews were carried out nationwide by CRRC-Georgia from March 26 through April 18. The survey has an average margin of error of +/-2.1%.