After Rustavi 2 TV released the preliminary results of the new poll of the International Republicans Institute (IRI) a few days ago, the organization publicized its official results on April 4, saying the majority of respondents support Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic course.
Majority supports Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic course
By Tea Mariamidze
Thursday, April 6
The research showed that 64% of the interviewed fully support membership in the European Union (EU), while 26% partly support the country’s pro-western course.
As for Georgia's accession to NATO, 56% fully support it, 26% partly support and 7% strongly opposes Georgia’s joining the alliance.
Moreover, 60% of respondents consider that the Russian aggression towards Georgia still continues. 23% said the Russian aggression was over, though it might resume again. 10% said the aggression was over and it was not expected to resume.
To a question ‘How safe they felt in Georgia due to the Georgian-Russian relationship', 47% of respondents said they felt more protected than unprotected. 11% said they were protected, 28% said they were more unprotected than protected, while 9% said they were unprotected.
In addition, 53% of respondents support Georgia’s further dialogue with Russia, while 39% gave partly positive evaluation to the government's relations with Russia.
Also, 73% of respondents say Russia represents a political threat, while 57% believe that Russia represents an economic danger for the country. As for strategic partnerships, according to the survey, 42% named the EU as a strategic and important partner of Georgia, 33% named the United States, 29% Azerbaijan, and 28% Ukraine.
In domestic politics, 26% of respondents said they would vote for the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) if local elections were held next Sunday. 12% of the interviewed said they would vote for the opposition United National Movement (UNM) followed by the Movement for Liberty - European Georgia – 7%, while 50 % did not name any party.
As for the ratings of political leaders, the list is led by the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili with 67% of votes, followed by the Health Minister Davit Sergeenko with 65%. Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili is in third place with 55%, followed by the European Georgia leader Davit Bakradze with 50%.
Moreover, 92% of the respondents support the direct election of the president. Only 5% support the election of the president by Parliament, while 3% did not have an answer to the question.
The church is leading with its activities among the interviewed, with 88% describing it as being their most trusted institution. The second place in the rating was taken by the army with 86%, which is followed by the media with 74%, 59% for the police, 55% for the Presidential Administration, 52% for the Ministry of Education, 45% for the PM's office, 40% for the Central Election Commission, 39% for the Public Defender's Office, 39% for Parliament, and 38% for the Cabinet of Ministers.
Also, nearly half of Georgians (47%) continue to cite unemployment as the main problem facing the country, which is consistent with the IRI’s March 2016 poll (45%). Unemployment was also named as the primary problem facing respondents’ towns or villages (35%) and households (42%). A combined 70% think that the economic situation has “worsened somewhat” (34%) or “worsened a lot” (36%) in the past two months. Taking the longer view, 69% feel that the direction of the economy has “regressed” over the past four years.
The ruling party does not trust the IRI polls, however the results of the survey are quite acceptable for the opposition parties.
Sergi Kapanadze from the parliamentary minority Movement for Freedom-European Georgia says that the rating of the ruling party has fallen.
"The fact that our political force has 7% is an indicator that we started well,” he said.
The UNM says the study confirms that the party still remains the main opposition force in Georgia.
“The survey showed that our population believes the UNM is the party which can solve their problems,” Tinatin Bokuchava, a member of the UNM, said.
Majority member Gia Volski says the main issue is not the survey but the results of the elections.
“The results of surveys do not need any deep discussions as none of them are even close to the election results,” he said.
The IRI survey fieldwork was carried out from February 22 to March 8 and in total, 1501 respondents were interviewed throughout the country.