U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) released on September 5 part of its commissioned public opinion survey, which shows respondents’ attitudes towards broad range of current and policy issues.
The poll, conducted in the first half of August, also includes ratings of political parties and this segment of the survey will be released by NDI on September 7.
One of the key political developments since NDI’s previous survey in June was appointment of former interior minister Vano Merabishvili as Prime Minister in early July.
63% of respondents said they approve this appointment, opposed to 16% who disapprove; 18% said they did not know.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) on July 31-August 12 and was funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The survey was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interview with 2,038 respondents; it has a margin of error plus, minus 3%.
Approval of Merabishvili’s appointment as PM is higher in rural areas (69%), than in capital city Tbilisi (55%) or in other urban areas (62%). 52% of respondents say that after Merabishvili’s appointment the role of PM became stronger.
47% of respondents said they were aware of PM Merabishvili’s four-year program, opposed to 46% who were not aware of this plan called More Benefit to People, which is also the ruling United National Movement party’s election slogan.
Of those respondents who were aware of this plan, 85% said that they support it with 26% of them prioritizing GEL 1,000 four-year vouchers for households as the most important part of the plan, followed by job creation pledge and agriculture development.
Of those 75% of respondents who were aware about establishment of a new state ministry in charge of employment, 68% said they approved this move, opposed to 16% who disapproved.
Number of those respondents who say that they support a statement by Bidzina Ivanishvili, the leader of Georgian Dream opposition coalition, that he will call for street protest rallies if elections are falsified, dropped from 27% in June to 16% in August.
41% of respondents said they disapproved imposing multi-million fine on Ivanishvili in case related to distribution of satellite dish antennas by Global TV, company affiliated to the Georgian Dream leader; 16% said they approved it and 39% said they did not know.
44% of respondents, opposed to 14%, also disapproved seizure of satellite dish antennas imported by the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV; 36% said they did not know.
Like in June, the new poll shows high number of likely voters.
77% of respondents said they would likely vote if election were held tomorrow, a 26-percentage-point increase from September, 2011 and 13-percentage-point increase from February, 2012.
There was a slight change when respondents were asked about their expectations of conduct of upcoming elections with 60% think that elections will be held either “totally well” or “somewhat well”, compared to 55% in June.
54% of respondents either say Georgia is “definitely going in the right direction” or “is going mainly in the right direction”, which is almost the same as in June, but which is a decline from NDI’s similar survey in late February, 2012 when the figure stood at 62%.
Number of respondents, who say that Georgia is a democracy, increased in August poll slightly beyond the margin of error to 42% from 38% in June.
The poll shows that majority of respondents (53%) were not aware that the Parliament passed in late June must-carry rules obligating cable networks to transmit TV channels with news programs during the pre-election period. 31% said they knew it. Level of awareness about the issue was higher in the capital city (42%) than in rural areas (24%). 47% of respondents support extending application of this rule beyond the election day; 44% do not know.