Mikheil Saakashvili is set to retake the presidency on January 5, according to a public opinion poll cited on Rustavi 2 TV on December 2.
The survey, commissioned by the Saakashvili campaign, was carried out by Business Consulting Group (BSG).
The Rustavi 2 report on the results created a storm of opposition protest, with Labor Party activists even staging a protest rally outside the station.
“Rustavi 2 TV has aired a false public opinion survey conducted by BCG, whose founder is Levan Tarkhnishvili [chairman of the Central Election Commission] and whose director is Ani Tarkhnishvili, the wife of the CEC Chairman,” Giorgi Gugava of the Labor Party said at the rally. The Labor Party leader, Shalva Natelashvili, is a presidential candidate.
BCG said that it had interviewed 10,000 people throughout Georgia between November 16 and November 29.
According to the survey, 71.3% of respondents will vote on January 5.
The survey predicts that Mikheil Saakashvili would take 54.5% of votes cast, followed by Levan Gachechiladze, the nine-party opposition coalition candidate, on 15.5%.
Badri Patarkatsishvili, a business and media tycoon, comes third, with 14.5%. Davit Gamkrelidze, leader of the New Rights Party – 6.4%; Shalva Natelashvili – 5.6% and Gia Maisashvili, leader of Party of Future – 3.5%, according to the Rustavi 2 TV report.
A plebiscite to determine the timing of parliamentary elections will also be held on January 5. Most respondents, 63.6%, said they favoured an opposition proposal to hold them in spring. 13.8% backed the government's autumn suggestion, while 22.6% remained undecided.