NDI: Most Georgians Assess Parliamentary Elections as Calm and Orderly

TBILISI - The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia released the results of the political part of their survey on Wednesday, suggesting that majority of Georgians feel positively about the last year’s parliamentary elections.

The polls showed that the vast majority of voters knew where to cast their ballots (92 percent), felt the process was safe (96 percent) and well-ordered (96 percent), and found election officials to be well-prepared (92 percent).

The dominant reason cited for voting in the first place, according to 68 percent of respondents, was “civic duty.” Of GD voters, only 11 percent said they went out to vote in order to support the party, and 8 percent to support the government. 71 percent of GD voters gave civic duty as their reason for going to the polls.

“A fascinating finding from this poll is that unlike in many countries where the primary motivation for voting is to either keep or change the government -- and express support for a political party, mandate, or ideology -- in Georgia it appears that voters were primarily motivated by obligation for participation rather than strong favorability toward a particular political choice,” said Laura Thornton, NDI senior director after release of the poll findings.

“While parliament has strong support and a favorable opinion from GD supporters, it is critical that the institution and its members work to represent all citizens even those that hold a more cynical view of the nation’s legislative body,” she added.

The survey reads that 74 percent of the interviewed said they took part in the elections, while according to official data, the turnout of October 8th parliamentary election was 51.63 percent.

46 percent of the respondents said they voted in the run-offs on October 30th, while 31 percent failed to participate.

40 percent of respondents said ruling party Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (GDDG) is closest to them, while 22 percent said they had no favorite party. 10 percent named the opposition United National Movement (UNM) as the party closest to them and 3 percent of respondents named Alliance of Patriots of Georgia and the Free Democrats as the parties closest to them.

Attachment to individual majoritarian candidates did not appear particularly strong either, as, only few weeks after the election, one-third of voters surveyed could not correctly name their majoritarian MP.

42 percent of respondents think that the new parliament will work much better than the previous one.  30 percent of respondents believe that the new parliament will be the same, while 8 percent think that the new parliament will be worse than the previous one.

The poll results also showed that the majority of respondents – 47 percent – felt that there was no pressure to vote a particular way during either the 2012 or 2016 elections. 

17 percent of respondents did say that there was more pressure during the 2012 elections than in last year’s, while 11% of respondents think that there was more pressure in 2016 than in 2012. 10% said that the pressure was equal.

The results were released on January 18 and reflect data collected from November 4th to December 4th, through face-to-face interviews with a nationwide, representative sample of citizens. 3,141 interviews were carried out. The organization says the average margin of error is +/- 1.8 percent.

NDI’s survey work is funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and carried out by the CRRC Georgia.


By Thea Morrison

19 January 2017 11:53