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Controversial opinions about NDI polling

By Tea Mariamidze
Tuesday, May 16
The recent poll results released on Monday by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia show that Georgians evaluate the performance of the country’s leaders and ministries as average, with low ratings.

Although Georgians are split in their assessment of the country’s direction, they are unified in believing that the country is a better place than it was 15 years ago. People are also optimistic about the more distant future, with 69 percent believing the next generation will be better off.

The President and Prime Minister’s assessment is most favorable, with almost identical ratings at 27 percent positive and 50 percent average rating for the president, and a 25 percent positive, 53 percent average for the Prime Minister.

Among the government officials, Tbilisi Mayor has the lowest performance ranking, with 52 percent assessing his office badly and only 8 percent positively.

“We see a lack of enthusiasm about the performance of government and political parties, with Georgians largely unimpressed and unaligned,” stated NDI Senior Director Laura Thornton.

The Healthcare, Justice, and Defense ministries receive the highest net positive performance assessments, while Agriculture, Economy, and Finance are evaluated negatively.

With regard to institutions, the church, public service halls, and the army are assessed most favorably, while the courts, Tbilisi City Council, and Parliament perform poorly.

Party support remains low in Georgia, with 42 percent reporting that no party is closest to them or they don’t know. The ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party receives 29 percent support, down from 40 percent in November, followed by the United National Movement (UNM) with 10 percent. The Alliance of Patriots and the Labor Party have 4 percent and 3 percent respectively, and no other party was outside the margin of error.

On the proposed constitutional amendments, most citizens (84 percent) believe they should directly elect the president, rather than have elected officials do so, including those who support the ruling GD party. A majority would also like to directly elect their majoritarian MPs (47 percent), while 28 percent favor dropping the majoritarian system.

“Georgians want to be able to choose their representatives themselves, rather than rely on intermediaries to decide for them. Those who insist on the adoption of indirect elections will have to make a strong case as to why and how this directly benefits Georgian citizens,” Thornton added.

A opposition UNM member, Nika Melia, says that the poll results clarify that the population do not trust the political parties.

“The study showed that the large part of the population is dissatisfied with the existing situation. Total unemployment also further aggravates the situation. The society has lost faith in a better tomorrow, including the belief in political parties. This is a great challenge for us as the main opposition party,” he said.

Tbilisi Mayor Davit Narmania is not satisfied with the poll results. He believes the survey does not reflect the reality.

“I think the attitude of the population towards the City Hall is much better, positive and high-profile,” he claimed.

The NDI poll results reflect data collected from April 7 to April 28 through face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgia’s adult population, excluding the Russian occupied territories of Georgia – Abkhazia and Tskhinvali (South Ossetia) that included 2,493 completed interviews.