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Poll: Majority Want Ivanishvili as President or Prime Minister

By Salome Modebadze
Friday, December 9
Results of a national-wide survey of political attitudes and approaches towards ongoing processes were on Thursday. Around 3,000 respondents from 11 regions including the capital Tbilisi participated in the survey carried out by the Institute of Social Studies and Analysis (ISSA) on the request of The Georgian Development Research Institute (GDRI) between November 11 and 22, 2011. Respondents selected by households through a random selection procedure had face-to-face interviews with a guarantee of anonymity.

Of those surveyed, 59.1% said the parliamentary elections in 2012 would be fair. A total 77.7% of the participants said they would definitely vote for their desired candidates, finding elections the most acceptable way of changing the ruling power, in comparison to12.2% which found it impossible to change the current leadership. If parliamentary elections were held the next day 36% would vote for the ruling United National Movement (UNM), followed by 32% for Bidzina Ivanishvili’s team. Meanwhile 33.4% of participants fully supported Ivanishvili’s decision to participate in parliamentary elections, while 13.1% are absolutely against it.

Respondents had different opinions according to their employment. A total of 52.1% of employed public sector said they would firstly vote for the UNM, while 37% in the employed private sector named Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Party and 28.1% - UNM, and a similar result obtained for self-employed people and those who are unemployed, but the opinion of students and pensioners was almost equally divided between the Ivanishvili and UNM, followed by a small percentage of other oppositional parties. In Kvemo Kartli, Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti, Adjara, Shida-Kartli, Samtskhe-Javakheti and Racha-Lechkhumi the majority of the respondents expressed their support towards the UNM, while in Tbilisi, Imereti, Guria and Mtskheta-Mtianeti Ivanishvili’s team received the majority support from the opinion poll.

Welcoming the businessman’s first steps in Georgian politics, the majority of the interviewed people hoped that the new political force would change the existing situation in the country for the better. Ivanishvili was also named as the most favorable candidate for the position of prime minister in 2013, followed by President Mikheil Saakashvili and Irakli Alasania, leader of Our Georgia – Free Democrats. Ivanishvili also came out on top as the candidate the majority of the survey participants would like to see as the next president of the country with three times as many votes as Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava.

A total of 27.5% of the surveyed citizens of Tbilisi mistrust the media both the so called pro-governmental and oppositional TV channels. Evaluating the activities of different institutions and structures, the majority of participants expressed their positive attitude towards the Georgian Orthodox Church followed by the Ministry of Interior Affairs (MIA), Ministry of Defense and NGOs, while the Prosecutor’s Office, Ministry of Healthcare and courts received the most negative evaluations from the participants. Having named unemployment, the lost territories and poverty as their main problems the majority of those surveyed said that Ivanishvili’s party would solve these problems.

ISSA, headed by Professor Iago Kachkachishvili, has carried out a significant number of projects in research and educational areas in cooperation with international donor organizations since 2000. Quantitative and qualitative social studies include polling, questioning and content analysis, in-depth interviews and observations embracing various spheres. The aim of the GDRI, newly established by well known analysts, is to try to study and research the type of mentality of Georgian society and the system of values in connection with the legal system and justice. The results of the work of the institute should be targeted at the entire society and it should be accessible for all political forces active in Georgia as well as public or international organizations, and all Georgian citizens. Promising transparency in their activities through conferences, round table meetings, public discussions GDRI hopes that such operations will encourage them to achieve their targeted goals.