Poll Shows Georgia’s Decided Voters Satisfied with Country’s Current Direction

TBILISI – The National Democratic Institute (NDI) published a report on Wednesday that showed the public’s attitude towards the ruling Georgian Dream coalition’s policies to have improved in recent months.

Georgians are more positive about their personal situation, with 17 per cent saying that their households are better off, up from 10 per cent in a March poll, while 19 per cent reported that the living conditions in their community have improved, up 10 points from August 2015.

Georgians’ also had a more favorable opinion of the government’s handling of foreign, economic and media freedom policy, with 42 per cent of respondents saying they had a positive view of each, which represents a 5 per cent increase from March.

The numbers continue to show, however, that a majority of Georgians (66 per cent) believe the country is experiencing little change or moving in the wrong direction.

The survey found that only 25 per cent of respondents believe the country is going in the right direction. The NDI noted that this continues the trend of a steady decline since 2012, but said the most recent numbers are a slight improvement over their last poll in March.

The NDI’s poll continued to show that a large number of voters remain politically undecided over who they will vote for in the upcoming October parliamentary elections.

Laura Thornton, a senior NDI director, said the views of those who have already decided are on average 10 per cent more positive than those who remain undecided.

“Those who are decided about how they will vote in October are more likely to believe that the country is going in the right direction. They believe the government is making decisions that matter to them and that the living conditions in their community have improved. This is in sharp contrast to those who are undecided. They rank the Georgian Dream’s performance on jobs, poverty, prices, governance reforms and crime far less favorably than the decided voters,” stated the NDI.

The research also showed that Georgia’s ethnic minorities and rural populations held decidedly differing opinions compared to the rest of Georgian society.

While the majority of the country’s population support European Union and Euro-Atlantic integration (72 per cent) and NATO membership (64 per cent), Georgia’s ethnic minorities and rural population largely reject the nation’s stated foreign policy platforms and, instead, called for close and more comprehensive ties with Russia over the West.

Thornton said they found a link between those who support pro-Russian policies with those residents who receive their news from Russian media sources outlets.

“It is important that those who advocate closer ties with the EU target the more sceptical rural and ethnic populations using the Russian language as a tool. For those who wish to counter pro-Russian messages, particular attention must be directed towards to the remaining undecided voters,” said Thornton.

By Eka Karsaulidze

Edited by Nicholas Waller


29 July 2016 10:14