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Latest political poll puts UNM in the lead

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, March 28
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) privately presented the results of a public opinion survey revealing the current popularity of Georgia's political parties and leaders to opposition and government representatives on March 27.

The results of the survey were publicized by political parties themselves, having not been released by the NDI.

According to the survey, 29% of voters would vote for a United National Movement candidate if the presidential election was held tomorrow, while 12% would vote for Georgian Dream's Bidzina Ivanishvili, and 5% for Christian Democratic Movement (CDM) candidate Giorgi Targamadze. Only 1% of respondents said they would vote for the leader of the Labour Party, Shalva Natelashvili.

However, in response to a question about the most-liked opposition figure, Targamadze led his peers with 54%, followed by another CDM representative, Inga Grigolia, with 49%. Ivanishvili took third place with 40%, leader of Our Georgia-Free Democrats Irakli Alasania had 30%, while a third CDM member, Giorgi Akhvlediani, was liked by 27% of respondents.

On the question of which political party you would vote for if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, the United National Movement came in first with 47%, Georgian Dream had 10%, and the Christian Democrats had a mere 3%.

The outcome pleased the UNM. "The NDI results are very important to us, as we can see the people’s needs better. It is very significant that people see the National Movement as a force capable of solving their problems,” MP Goka Gabashvili said.

Christian Democrat representative Levan Vepkvadze believes that "the survey confirmed the Christian Democrats are ahead of all opposition forces. We have optimistic plans and this reality enables us to be optimistic. As it was revealed, there will be three political forces in the future Parliament – the National Movement, the Christian Democrats, and Georgian Dream – and not two as certain political forces want it".

Those parties united within the Georgian Dream coalition expressed suspicion about the results, calling the outcome “funny”. The group noted that in the near future they will speak about polling problems in Georgia with the United States government and other relevant organizations. They thanked the U.S. for its long-time support of Georgia, but noted that those American organizations carrying out political polls in Georgia have turned “counterproductive... and a weapon for the current Georgian leadership to manipulate the Georgian people through their controlled media outlets". Georgian Dream also asserted that results publicized by polling organizations make Georgians lose trust in public opinion surveys.

As analyst Giorgi Khutsishvili told The Messenger, he is surprised when certain aspects of society fail to turn up in political polls. "The reason should be studied why this happens. I believe that the organization does its job, [but] it should be studied whether it is the fault of the organizations, or the respondents, if they are being asked to answer what they do not think in reality".