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Ivanishvili and his team maintain high rating

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, April 23
Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili continues to be the most popular political leader in Georgia, and 60 % rate the Georgian Dream Coalition as the “party” closest to them, according to the findings of a public opinion survey released on April 22 by the National Democratic Institute (NDI).

Ivanishvili scored a 75 % favorable rating, with Speaker Davit Usupashvili increasing his favorable rating to 66 %, followed by Members of Parliament Tina Khidasheli, Eka Beselia and Zviad Dzidziguri. Minority Leader Davit Bakradze is the most popular opposition leader, whose favorable rating increased to 48 %.

The Georgian Dream Coalition was identified by 60 % of Georgian voters as the party closest to them, giving it a 6-1 lead over UNM, which had 10 %. The combined response of those who answered “no party,” “refuse to answer” or “don’t know” to the same question was 26 %.

78% of those surveyed think it is important for Georgia to have a strong opposition. 56% name the United National Movement (UNM) as the strongest opposition party.

Luis Navarro, NDI’s country director in Georgia, said that the Prime Minister and the Georgian Dream Coalition continue to be the dominant political players in Georgia. While most politicians’ favorability ratings stayed statistically the same or decreased

“Georgians believe that having a strong opposition is important to the country and identify the UNM as the strongest opposition party,” Navaro said.

Member of the coalition Georgian Dream, Zakaria Kutsnashvili, thinks that after defeating the United National Movement, the NDI polls became more trusted.

“When the UNM was in power people were fearful and the polls did not reflect real public opinion. After the Georgian Dream won the elections the public was no longer scared and the polls are more relevant,” Kutsnashvili said.

UNM MP Mariam Sajaia believes that public opinion changes very frequently and that the chances of advancement for the UNM are still high.

“The April 19 street rally revealed that the United National Movement is a powerful party. The current outcomes of the polls might be related with the policy of lies carried out by the current government against the political opponents,” Sajaia said.

These findings were part of a broader survey that found that voters care most about jobs, territorial integrity and health care.

The results reflect data collected from March 13-27 in face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgian speakers that included 3,103 completed interviews. NDI’s survey work is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and is carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Center (CRRC).