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IRI Poll Shows Third of Population Thinks No Party Expresses Their Interests

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Friday, April 29, 2022
The International Republican Institute (IRI) publishes the results of a public opinion poll. According to the survey, 74% of the Georgian population fully and 14% partially support the country's accession to the European Union.

As for NATO, 60% of the population fully supports NATO membership, and 15% - partially.

43% of the respondents think that the biggest benefit of joining the EU is the strengthening of the economy, and in the case of joining NATO - security (31%).

The majority of the population considers the EU (54%), the US (53%), and Ukraine (45%) to be the most important political partners.

According to the survey, the number of Georgian citizens who support dialogue with Russia has significantly decreased.

One-third of the population surveyed in March 2022 - 36%, strongly or partially oppose dialogue with Russia, while 34% fully support the dialogue. It is noteworthy that the number of supporters of the dialogue has decreased compared to last year. In June 2021, in a survey conducted by the same organization, 56% of the population fully supported dialogue with Russia, 22% partially, and 20% opposed it.

When asked which country poses the greatest political threat to Georgia, 90% of the population names Russia, 8% - Turkey, 5% - the United States, and 3% - Armenia.

As for the internal political situation, almost a third of the population, 31%, believe that no political party in Georgia today represents their interests. 35% of the population say that more or less one political party expresses their interests, while 30% say that there is a party that fully pursues its interests in politics.

When asked which party they would vote for next week, 31% named the Georgian Dream, 16% the United National Movement, 4% the party of former Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia ‘For Georgia’.

53% of the population say that they believe political parties more than they do not, 23% say that they trust them and as many say that Georgian parties can not be trusted.

The poll results showed that the share of the respondents who believed democracy is the best possible form of government for Georgia decreased from 77% in June 2021 to 64% in March 2022. The share of those who are strongly or somewhat satisfied with the current state of democracy in Georgia has also increased in the same period, from 45% to 53%.

More than two-thirds of respondents, (71%) said that Georgia’s politics are moving more toward polarization, also increasing from 61% in June 2021. When asked for possible solutions, 40% of the interviewees saw ‘certain political parties or politicians’ quitting politics as an essential element for political reconciliation. 38% named holding accountable the current and former officials who have committed crimes while in office. 26% of the respondents said they found the reconciliation very unlikely, while 24% found it somewhat unlikely. Against this background, only 39% found it either very or somewhat likely that a lasting reconciliation occurs.

According to the survey, Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia and the spiritual leader of the Georgian Orthodox Church Ilia II has the highest approval rating (91%), followed by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze (53%) and President Salome Zurabishvili (52%).

According to the poll, Irakli Gharibashvili is in 4th place with 47%, and Public Defender Nino Lomjaria is in 5th place with 44%.

The same survey found that the majority of the country's population considers unemployment (40%) and high prices (18%) as the most important problems. Given the possibility to name 3 answers, 85% of the respondents named economic development as one of the biggest challenges for Georgia’s future. Bringing back the lost territories and unemployment were other top responses.

The study was conducted on March 4-24, 2022, on behalf of the Research Center of the IRI, by Dr. Rasa Alishauskine, Representative of the Baltic Studies and Gallup Organization. The research fieldwork was conducted by IPM. The data was collected through face-to-face interviews. The sample included 1486 respondents with voting rights and age. Data were weighted by age, sex, region, and settlement size. The margin of error is +/- 2.5%, the response rate is 64%.