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NDI releases research on public attitudes in Georgia

By Tatia Megeneishvili
Thursday, December 19
The National Democratic Institute (NDI) released the results of its November 2013 survey on public attitudes in Georgia on December 18. The survey was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interview with 3,915 respondents collected dating from November 13 through November 28.

For the first time since NDI began polling in Georgia in 2008, a majority of respondents (54%) say that Georgia is a democratic country now. 53% of Georgians also think their country is headed in the right direction, while 73% says the government is making changes that matter to them.

Jobs remain the number one national issue for 62% of respondents nationwide, while 31% consider themselves as full of part-time employed. From the 69% who identify themselves as unemployed, 44% are looking for a job, 23% retired and not interested in looking for a job, 11% are housewives, 6% students, and 2% disabled, while the rest are either looking for or are just interested in a job.

The cost of communal services remains the top local issue at 52%. Territorial integrity and affordable healthcare are the second and third priority issues.

75% of respondents say that taking everything into account in general they and their household remained the same since October 2012. 15% responded that they were better off and 10% - worse.

The percentage of respondents who thought the October 2013 presidential election was well-conducted increased from 79% to 89%.

85% of Georgians support the government’s goal of joining the European Union and when asked to choose, Georgians expressed strong support for the membership in the European Union. However, 11% said Georgia should join Russian-led Eurasian Union.

The survey looks at issues of public importance, perception of democracy and attitudes toward reforms, as well as various internal and foreign policy issues.

The Director of NDI, Luis Navarro, said that no matter the results, “Georgians strongly support European integration, are optimistic about their democracy, and the direction of their country.”

“While unemployment has increased, Georgians remain strong in their view that the government is making changes that matter to them and cite jobs and the cost of communal services as their top priorities in the lead-up to next year’s municipal election,” Navarro stated.

The NDI survey was funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and carried out by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC).