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NDI Poll Shows Strong Public Support for Georgian Dream
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Dec.'12 / 13:40

Screengrab from NDI-commissioned survey.

A recent poll, carried out less than two months after the October 1 parliamentary elections, shows the Georgian Dream (GD) coalition enjoys strong public support with 63% of respondents identifying it as “the party closest” to them, compared to United National Movement’s (UNM) only 10%.

According to the poll, released on December 17 and fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) on November 14-25, Georgian Dream leader, PM Bidzina Ivanishvili, enjoyed 80% favorable rating, the highest among the politicians, and UNM chairman, President Saakashvili, received a favorable rating of 29%.

NDI-commissioned previous similar survey was carried out in August, less than two months before the October 1 parliamentary elections and about one month before shocking videos of prisoners’ abuse were shown on TV.

Unlike this recent, November survey, the August poll, in addition to asking respondents which party was “closest” to them, also included a question which party respondents were going to vote for.

Results in the August poll on these two questions were mainly statistically the same – Georgian Dream had 12% support and it was identified as “the party closest” to them by 14% and UNM had 37% support with 38% identifying it as “the party closest” to them.

In the August poll large portion of respondents (43%), however, either refused to answer or said they did not know which party they would vote for and 34% reacted similarly to a question which party was closest to them.

In the November survey number of those who either refused to answer which party was closest to them or said they did not know declined to 18%.

The Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM), the party which failed to clear 5% threshold in the October 1 elections and has not been active on the political scene since those elections, had 3% support in the November poll.

According to official results of the October 1 parliamentary elections, GD received 54.97% of votes and UNM – 40.34%.

The NDI-commissioned survey, which was funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interview with 1,947 respondents; it has a margin of error plus, minus 3%.

Favorability and Job Performance

Like the previous ones, the November poll includes a survey on how voters respond on a question whether they "like" or "dislike" specific figures.

The list includes twenty nine politicians, plus Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, who enjoys the highest favorability ratings (93%) among the persons on the list.

Next in the list is PM Bidzina Ivanishvili (80%), followed by other Georgian Dream politicians, whose favorability ratings have significantly increased since August: parliamentary chairman Davit Usupashvili (63%); GD MP Tina Khidasheli of Republican Party (61%), who is wife of Usupashvili; GD MP Eka Beselia of Ivanishvili’s party (61%); GD MP Zviad Dzidziguri of Conservative Party (60%); MP Koba Davitashvili (53%); vice-speaker of Parliament Manana Kobakhidze (45%).

69% of respondents rated PM Ivanishvili’s job performance either as “very well” or “well”, compared to only 27% in August, when 26% responded that they did not know; in November this latter figure was down to 12%.

Favorability rating of UNM politicians has suffered decline since similar August poll.

Among the UNM leaders former parliamentary speaker Davit Bakradze enjoys the highest rating with 42%, down from 55% in August, followed by President Saakashvili, whose favorability rating decline from 61% in August to 29% in November and Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava (29%, he had 58% in August).

UNM’s secretary general Vano Merabishvili had 28% favorability rating in November; the figure stood at 62% in August, when he was the Prime Minister.

UNM politicians’ job performance rating has also declined since August.

16% of respondents rate President Saakashvili’s performance either as “very well” or “well” in November, down from 41% in August. Former parliamentary speaker Davit Bakradze, who now leads the UNM parliamentary minority group, has 21% job approval, down from 31% in August; Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava – 14% (39% in August).

The November poll also shows that 62% of Georgian Dream supporters and 53% of UNM supporters think that Georgia is going in the right direction.

According to the poll 19% of Georgian Dream supporters say that Russia is “a real and existing threat” to Georgia; 52% of UNM supporters think the same way.

While 46% of Georgian Dream supporters think that although Russia is a threat, but this threat “is exaggerated”, only 26% of UNM supporters think so.

The poll is part of a broader survey, which also looks into Georgian voters’ attitudes to various current and policy issues; that segment of the survey was released last week.

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