IRI survey results find UNM in the lead
By Ernest Petrosyan
Friday, May 4The results of an International Republican Institute (IRI) survey of political parties in Georgia, conducted between March 20 and April 6, have been unofficially released. An IRI representative commented that the official version for media will be published in two weeks.
Rustavi 2 reports that according to IRI polling, in answer to the question, “If the presidential elections were next week, which political party’s candidate would you vote for?”, an unnamed United National Movement candidate gained 37% support, Georgian Dream’s candidate (likely Bidzina Ivanishvili) garnered 19%, and Giorgi Targamadze of the Christian Democrats (CDM) had 10%.
According to Rustavi 2, in answer to the the question “Whom would you vote if presidential elections were held next week?” the UNM candidate again leads with 37%, Ivanishvili follows with 19% and Targamadze with 10%.
On the question “Which opposition candidate do you trust?” Targamadze garnered 28% whereas Georgian Dream leader Ivanishvili had only 21%. As the survey figures reveal, more people are ready to vote for a candidate they trust less.
News agency iverioni.com.ge, however, revealed different figures. According to the results they released, 49% of respondents answered the question “Do you trust Bidzina Ivanishvili” positively, while 21% refrained from answering.
Sixty percent of respondents said the country was developing in the right direction. Half identified unemployment as the most troubling problem in Georgia, followed by lost territories at 20% and the economy at 7%.
According to the survey, 90% of the respondents trust the military; 71% trust the President`s office, and 69% trust Parliament.
Corruption ratings have not changed since the previous survey – 98% of respondents said they did not have to give a bribe in the past 12 months.
The IRI also surveyed attitudes about foreign policy issues. Sixty percent of respondents said that the US is the greatest ally of Georgia, while 82% believe that Russia is the greatest threat for Georgia.
As for support for NATO integration, it has increased by 2 % in comparison to the referendum result in 2008. Seventy-nine percent of respondents said they support Georgia’s accession into NATO.
The Georgian Dream coalition has criticized the results of both IRI and National Democratic Institute polls. “IRI and NDI are authoritative institutes; we know the merit of both organizations in terms of democratic development, however, the methodology of these surveys and results cast certain doubts. As far as we know, the result of such surveys should be sent directly to political parties, and not be the subject of public discussion,” the group commented.
“It is known by everybody that in terms of methodology they hire Georgian companies to conduct surveys, and Georgian companies have contacts with respondents, and can manipulate the data,” the coalition stated.
MP Akaki Minashvili noted that “High trust towards the UNM and the President is an indicator that the ruling party has more responsibilities to continue working on these problems.”
Christian Democrats leader Giorgi Targamadze says that the basis of people’s trust is that his party remains loyal to their initially chosen strategy. “We are a socially-oriented political organization as we think that a person’s dignity can be defended only if the government creates benign conditions to study and work and not to beg the government or anyone else”.