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NDI survey outcomes published

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Tuesday, April 16
A survey measuring public opinion in Georgia released on April 15 by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), shows that jobs remain the number one priority issue for 61 percent of Georgians. Territorial integrity and affordable healthcare are the second and third priority issues at 34 and 32 percent respectively.

58% of respondents view Georgia as headed in the right direction, while eight percent said the country is going in the wrong direction. Asked whether Georgia is a democracy now, 43 percent of respondents said “yes,” compared to 38 percent who said “no.” Attitudes toward the direction Georgia is heading and Georgia’s democracy have remained statistically the same since NDI’s November 2012 poll.

88% percent of Georgians say that the president should be directly elected by Georgian citizens. 8% believe the president should be elected by the Parliament of Georgia.

"Priority issues for Georgians have not changed. People continue to be optimistic in the direction that Georgia is heading and the ability of the government to make the changes that matter to them," said Luis Navarro, NDI’s country director in Georgia. “By more than a nine to one margin, Georgians believe that the president of Georgia should be directly elected.”

Concerning the country's foreign course, the Georgian attitude towards integration into Euro-Atlantic structures has not changed and it is still positive. Most of those questioned think that Russia is a threat to Georgia. However, the threat is exaggerated. At the same time, Georgians think that Georgian products returning to the Russian market is positive and that relations towards Russia should change for the better.

Many surveyed consider that the current government of Georgia is carrying out profitable changes for the country. Many individuals think that they have not felt significant changes both in the family and in the country since October 2012. However, of those who think that changes were carried out, many consider that the changes were more positive than negative.

Three most important reforms that should be carried out for Georgia through the survey are: healthcare reform, agricultural, pension and education. Most Georgians were aware of the constitutional changes and many supported it. More people thought that the President’s speech should be left to the parliament. However, many surveyed stated that the President’s decision to have a speech at the Public Library as well as the protesters actions in front of the library were negative.

The results reflect data collected from March 13-27 in face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgian speakers that included 3,103 completed interviews.

Political analyst, Gogi Khutsishvili told The Messenger that the survey proved that the course of the current Georgian government is assessed positively by citizens. According to him, Georgians should not have felt any serious changes in social issues as only short period of time has passed since the elections.

“However, the generally positive mood of Georgians reveals that the direction of the Georgian Dream is positive,” Khutsishvili said, adding that the coalition should pay more attention to regional issues and solve the problems in self-governments.

“Majoritarian MPs should work actively and have close coordination with people to bring the problems to the parliament,” Khutsishvili stated.