Undecided & Ill-Informed: On the Latest NDI Poll

On August, 1, the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the Caucasus Research Resource Center of Georgia (CRRC Georgia) released their latest poll results which reveal that, generally speaking, people in Georgia appear to be concerned about the economic and political situation of their country. The poll demonstrated that 62% of those questioned, representing the population of Georgia as a whole, believe the country is “heading in the wrong direction,” while only 29% say things are moving as they should be. People have also said they are dissatisfied with the government’s weak answer to ongoing environmental issues.

This study was funded with UK aid from the British people and ran from June 23 to July 8, gathering 2409 interviews throughout the country, excluding occupied regions. GEORGIA TODAY took a look at some of the key findings.


According to the poll, Georgians are worried about environmental issues. For 54% of them, the government is not spending enough to adequately deal with the issue. 67% of respondents said they would like the government to spend more on resolving air pollution problems and 66% think Georgia does not spend enough on food safety. Where environmental issues are mentioned foremost by the poll respondents, there is a divide between Tbilisi, of which 87% believe national pollution is problematic, and the remainder of the country, 67%. The divide exists on every topic related to the environment, with around 15% more people concerned in the capital. 90% of the Georgians polled support the purchasing of land by the state to promote green spaces.

In majority, the people polled drink water from their domestic taps, showing that they are confident about the quality of the mains supply. Only 1% of those surveyed say they buy bottled water due to concerns about water quality.


In 2015, 92% of the population thought that protection of the disabled was important; today this is 93%, showing a constant. Yet only 23% think that sexual minorities need protecting and 44% think it is not necessary at all to protect them.

69% of those surveyed say democracy is weak and that favoritism can be seen in the courts in Georgia. Paradoxically, 69% also agree that freedom of speech should be restricted to certain groups.

54% of Georgians use the internet every day while 28% never use it.

This week, the Constitutional Court of Georgia effectively abolished administrative punishment for the use of the marijuana. However, interestingly, the poll shows that 74% of the people oppose any such legalization.

To the question how the country has changed, 93% answered it has worsened in terms of inflation, and 40% believes that corruption has increase over the last 10 years. 65% say that the situation has also worsened in terms of employment and crime. Paradoxically, Georgians feel more confident about their economy than before (66% evaluated the economy as “bad” in 2016, now down to 57%).


The poll shows that 29% of respondents disagreed with the former Prime Minister's resignation.

Georgians would like to see healthcare, education, pensions, and social assistance as top government spending priorities and the majority would tolerate cuts in foreign affairs, police, sports and assistance to small and medium businesses to accommodate this.

With a presidential election approaching, citizens are looking to hear candidates focus on employment, inflation, healthcare, and education. Moreover, 71% expect candidates to tackle the relationship with Russia, and 65% women rights. Today, only 24% see territorial integrity as the most important national issue, down from nearly 50% in 2009 and 35% in 2013.

When asked if they were decided about their vote if the presidential elections were held tomorrow, 74% of respondents reported that they were undecided. Few could identify a party closest to them ideologically, with 18% choosing the ruling party Georgian Dream (GD), 10% the United National Movement (UNM), and 3% the Labor Party.

Who runs could have a strong impact on the election, in particular for GD. For instance, if President Margvelashvili participated, a GD candidate would receive 12% of the overall vote, according to the survey. However, if the President does not compete, the GD candidate’s votes would rise to 17%. In addition, in different second-round scenarios, GD would still earn the majority of votes, but if the current President was the second candidate, the race would be close compared to other scenarios.

We can also say, overall, that Georgian citizens are still facing a lack of information and transparency. 51% had not heard about the pension reform currently being discussed in Parliament.

Regarding the EU and NATO, people have been constant over the last 10 years (around 80% in favor of entering the EU, and 75% NATO).

The NDI is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working to support and strengthen democratic institutions worldwide through citizen participation, openness and accountability in government. CRRC-Georgia is a non-governmental, non-profit research organization which aims to promote debates on policy issues by providing reliable data and analysis.

By Antoine Dewaest

02 August 2018 17:07