NDI poll results interpreted differently by parties
By Ernest Petrosyan
Tuesday, July 17
The National Democratic Institute (NDI), an American-based NGO, disclosed its survey results on July 16 reflecting public opinion regarding the upcoming parliamentary elections, as well as the public’s political preferences. According to the polls, the United National Movement’s (UNM) support has nonetheless decreased by 11% since February, but still maintains a double-digit lead over the Ivanishvili-led Georgian Dream opposition coalition, whose rating of which has grown by 8% since February.
According to the data, if the elections were held tomorrow, 36-38% of those polled would likely vote for the UNM as their first and second choice accordingly. 18-22% would vote for the Georgian Dream coalition as their first and second choice. No other party exceeded 5% of the supposed votes required to gain parliamentary mandates. 3% of voters preferred the Christian democrats with 6% as a second choice.
The aggregate number of those, who either has not decided or refused to answer, is quite high. 22% of those polled had not determined whom to vote for and 16% refused to respond altogether.
When asked which of the following people they would like to see the most as the next President of Georgia, 22% supported the ruling party candidate; 20% preferred Ivanishvili-endorsed candidate; 25% did not know and 17% refused to answer. CDM Leader Georgi Targamadze received only 4% of the possible votes. Respondents nonetheless were cognizant of the fact that President Saakashvili is no longer eligible to run for president. In light of this acknowledgment, 6% of voters still prefer him as their desired candidate.
While the ruling party’s representatives are satisfied with the polls, the Georgian Dream coalition continues to distrust NDI’s poll. The Christian Democrats remain optimistic, claiming that 22% of respondents have not yet decided who to vote for.
Giorgi Gabashvili, one of the ruling party lawmakers, said that the NDI polls were credible and were in line with those commissioned by the ruling party itself. “We have quite high support, despite the fact that we have not started your campaign yet,” said Gabashvili, thanking UNM supporters.
Maia Panjikidze, the Georgian Dream’s spokesperson, claims that the NDI poll does not foster confidence, as the main indicator should not be based on figures disclosed by either institution, but rather the unprecedented number of supporters attended at the five opposition rallies.
"Our position has not changed, we do not trust the NDI research; we don’t trust other organization’s surveys either. We do not know their methodology and we do not know how their field work is conducted. Thus, our main indicators are not the figures published by the various institutes, but the number of supporters who have attended our rallies,” said Panjikidze.
Christian Democrat Leader Giorgi Targamadze, claims that the rest of his supporters are those 22% of voters who have not yet determined their voting preference. “The 22% who do not know who to vote for is a very significant number. These are exactly our supporters that are in this group,” said Targamadze
Kakhi Kakhishvili, the Head of the Research Centre for Elections and Political Technologies, says that the polls do not reflect real pre-election moods.
“The most important aspect of the survey was the high percentage of those who refuse to reveal their choice. It should be noted that the ruling party supporters have always been open to monitors, as they know that they will not have problems due to their partisan views,” said Kakhishvili.
According to him, the survey is anonymous. However, people are not confident about it and thus refrain from providing their answer.