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CSA announce Local Election Poll Results

By Salome Modebadze
Thursday, May 20
The French Company CSA International Opinion Department announced the results of its Intention to Vote Survey in Tbilisi on May 19. The survey questioned a sample of the general population aged 18+ registered to vote. The research was carried out May 1-4 was requested by Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV in order to reveal the social concern of the 1000 citizens of Tbilisi, from 10 different districts, such as Nadzaladevi, Gldani, Chughureti, Vake, Saburtalo, Mtatsminda, Krtsanisi, Isani, Samgori and Didube. To collect the data CSA worked with a local research partner, specialising in opinion polls to collect the data. CSA was responsible for designing the questionnaire and for the analysis and reporting. All the respondents had already determined which particular candidate to vote for at the upcoming local government elections on May 30.

To the question which candidate would they support at the post of Mayor of Tbilisi 57% of the interviewed citizens named Gigi Ugulava, the candidate from the United National Movement, 14% - Irakli Alasania, from the Alliance for Georgia, 11% - Gia Chanturia, from the Christian-Democratic Movement, 10% - Gogi Topadze, from Industry Will Save Georgia, 6% - Zviad Dzidziguri, from National Council, 1-1% - Nika Ivanishvili, from Public Democrats and Davit Iakobidze, from Tortladze – Democratic Party. Tamaz Vashadze, from Solidarity and Giorgi Meladze from Future Georgia received no support from the respondents. The same research revealed the results for the City Council Chairmanship where the United National Movement received 44% of votes, Christian-Democratic Movement – 23%, Alliance for Georgia – 16%, Industry Will Save Georgia – 9%, National Council – 7%. The other political blocks received no support from the respondents of CSA.

“The strategy of our company is to cooperate with all the interested sides such as the Governmental and oppositional parties, and has high confidence among society. CSA was established in 1972 so has vast experience in researching social concerns in political, social and economical aspects. The research [in Tbilisi] aimed to analyze the positions of all the candidates for the Mayor’s post. The results showed that the majority of the respondents plan to vote for Governmental forces. We tried to find the best mechanism to ensure a low percentage error - it may be around 3.1% but the results of our inquiry are absolutely truthful,” Celine Batler, Head of CSA International Department explained. She added that 64% of those interviewed considered the elections would be free and fair while the 22% thought the opposite.

Otar Bubashvili, General Director of Imedi TV explained that the TV companies [Imedi and Rustavi 2] chose the CSA for its high quality and experience and called CSA one of the leading European companies working in this very direction for ages. “We wanted to show the adequate election situation [in Tbilisi] and the results [of the CSA public polling] have reflected completely objective figures,” Bubashvili stated. “The CSA is an influential French company and that’s the reason why it was chosen for launching an effective election survey [in Tbilisi]. Our society has great interest in the upcoming elections and we wanted to compare the results of our [local] exit polls with their results,” Giorgi Dzidziguri, Deputy Chairman of International Department of Rustavi 2 added.

The results of the CSA inquiry revealing a great difference in support towards the Government and opposition representatives was followed by comments from both sides. Davit Bakradze, Chairman of Parliament of Georgia said the results revealed the attitude of the respondents towards the United National Movement but the demands of the citizens remain unchanged. “The main aspect that this research has shown us is that there is still much to be done for our citizens and whoever comes to power should continue working [on this issue],” Bakradze told the media.

Nika Laliashvili from the Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) said they welcomed the increasing dynamics of the results which differ from the results of NDI research presented the previous week. “We have made significant progress compared to the other political groups and we hope the results will peak on May 30,” Laliashvili said while Levan Gachechiladze, leader of Defend Georgia called the CSA research “act of psychological terror on the Georgian society”, as the Georgian companies (referring to Rustavi 2 and Imedi TV) are fully controlled by the President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili, and the picture described in the CSA survey, according to Gachechiladze is not realistic.

The Messenger asked Mikheil Devdariani, member of “new Generation – new Initiative” (nGnI) one of the leading NGOs in Georgia about nGnI’s approach towards the results of the CSA’s public poll. “Public polls are important for political parties participating in the elections. The results of the polls usually give them an opportunity to strengthen working on particular issues but unfortunately most of them do not have enough funding to hold public polls. The most important part of the CSA survey was to reveal that almost 70% of the citizens are going to vote for a particular candidate. It is a matter for discussion how adequate the current results are but it’s a fact that such surveys are interesting for the society,” Devdariani said explaining that the methodology of each organization working in this particular direction depends on its experience.

Even though the official release about the CSA said that as a member of international networks CSA International is dedicated to providing best-practice research methodologies with stringent quality controls complying with all industry standards The Messenger was unable to find out what the abbrivation CSA stands for neither from the interested sides not from the web page of the CSA.