Imedi TV Plans Exit Polls
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 23 Dec.'07 / 22:46

Imedi TV said on Sunday it had commissioned Dialogue for Development of Democracy to conduct exit polls for the January 5 early presidential election.

No information about what Imedi called a “European foundation” was immediately available.

Three other national television stations - the Georgian Public Broadcaster, Mze TV and Rustavi 2 TV - also plan exit polls. The stations have commissioned seven local research groups. Details are expected to be unveiled at a press conference on Monday.

Meanwhile, Dialogue for Development of Democracy, according to Imedi TV, has already conducted public opinion research between December 17 and December 21. The survey showed, Imedi TV said, that 22.1% of the 2,100 surveyed would support Levan Gachechiladze, a presidential candidate backed by the nine-party opposition coalition, followed by Mikheil Saakashvili with 20.3%; Badri Patarkatsishvili (co-owner of Imedi TV) – 19.1%; Shalva Natelashvili, the leader of the Labor Party – 6.5%; Davit Gamkrelidze, the leader of the New Rights Party – 4.9%; Giorgi Maisashvili, leader of Party of Future – 1.1% and Irina Sarishvili, leader of Party of Hope – 0.2%. The survey also showed that 21.7% still remain undecided, according to Imedi TV.

The results are in sharp contrast to two previous separate public opinion polls published in December – one by the BCG, which was commissioned by the Saakashvili campaign, and another by ACT research group. Both are Georgian organizations.

The BCG survey, which surveyed 13,000 respondents throughout Georgia in December, showed that 29.5% of voters were still undecided. 36.7% said they would vote for Saakashvili, followed by Gachechiladze with 9.7%; Patarkatsishvili – 4.7%; Gamkrelidze - 3%; Natelashvili – 2.5%; Maisashvili and Sarishvili had less than 1% each. One percent said they would vote for none of the candidates.

The survey showed that 63.5% of those who have decided to vote for one of the candidates will vote for Saakashvili, followed by Gachechiladze and Patarkatsishvili with 16.7% and 8.1%, respectively.

According to the ACT research, which involved 1,500 respondents, 41% will vote for Saakashvili, followed by Gachechiladze – 11.1%; Patarkatsishvili – 6.5%; Natelashvili – 3.5%; Gamkrelidze – 2.1%; Maisashvili and Sarishvili - less than 1% each. 20.6% were undecided and 2.3% said they wouldn’t vote for any candidate. Of those who have decided to vote for one of the candidates, 64% said they would vote for Saakashvili, followed by Gachechiladze and Patarkatsishvili with 17% and 10%, respectively.

ACT said that its survey results were initially only available to the company’s “business clients and partners,” but following increasing criticism of public opinion surveys by some political groups, the results were eventually made public.

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