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Unemployment, poverty and territorial integrity remain among top 3 problems

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, January 31
The NGO Caucasus Research Resource Center-Georgia (CRRC-Georgia) presented a new survey of the Georgian population's leanings. The presentation titled "Decade of Change: Opinions and Values in Georgia, 2009-2019" is based on eight waves of data from the Caucasus Barometer conducted during this period.

At the presentation, CRRC-Georgia representatives spoke about the transformative shift in attitudes towards domestic and foreign policy, conflict, migration and social issues of Georgians over the past decade.

The average error of the survey varies from 2.2 to 2.8%. The number of respondents interviewed is 2 100.

One of the aims of the study was to study the factor of confidence in today's governmental bodies. According to the report, the number of people who do not trust the judiciary has increased from 29% to 46%. The rate of mistrust of the executive branch has also increased from 29% to 40%. A similar rate of mistrust is the highest in the last 10 years, according to this study. 29% do not trust the president at all, while 20% do not trust her mostly. Political parties are also highly mistrusted.

There is a similar tendency for confidence in the Parliament.

The percentage of those who believe that the government treats people fairly is diminishing. Half of the surveyed recognize that Georgia's democracy has significant problems, and nearly 2/3 believes that people should take part in protests.

Attitudes towards both the UN and the EU have worsened. In 2008, the UN was mostly trusted by 31%, while in 2019, the figure reduced to 24%. The EU was trusted by 35% in 2008, whereas now 28% of the surveyed answered positively.

However, more than half of the surveyed support EU and NATO membership, which is the highest figure since 2013. The surveyed support NATO membership due to the protection of foreign threats and the possible restoration of territorial integrity.

As a result of the CRRC-Georgia survey, in 2019, the population identifies economic problems as the main problem. Unemployment, poverty and territorial integrity occupy the top three in the main problems. The number of people who cite unemployment as the number one problem has increased from 15 to 48 percent. However, 28% of the population thinks that domestic policy in Georgia is mostly wrong, and 15% are absolutely convinced.

According to a CRRC-Georgia survey, the population's attitude toward the collapse of the Soviet Union is almost evenly divided - 41% think it was a good thing, and 42% think otherwise. However, young people are more likely to rate this event as positive than older respondents.

Respondents attribute the positive attitude to the collapse of the Soviet Union to independence and the opportunity to develop a national culture. 82% of respondents cited independence as the major achievement of the collapse of the USSR.

As for the negative attitude, 64% of the respondents think that it was unfortunate because the process was followed by economic problems, while 64% indicated military conflicts.

According to one study, the population of Georgia is closest to the Ukrainians and Russians, the most distant to Arabs, Iranians, and Jehovah's Witnesses.

Compared to 2013, the proportion of people who think that men and women in the family should be treated equally has doubled. Also, since 2010, there has been a rise in those who believe that education, hard work, professionalism, and talent are needed to get a good job in Georgia.

Regarding migration, the majority of respondents surveyed on this topic stated that they have at least one relative who has lived outside Georgia for more than 3 months. Russia, Italy and Greece are the top 3 countries.

According to the research, the significant majority of the population considers themselves religious, though they rarely attend religious services. 62% of respondents say they never fast. This figure was lower in 2008 - 58%.

When asked how important religion is in their life, 46% said it is very important. Religious institutions came after the army, in assessing the most trustworthy institutions. Police came the third.

The fieldwork was conducted from October 19 to November 4, 2019, in Georgian, Azerbaijani and Armenian languages.