Although Georgian Dream (GD) coalition remains the most popular political force in the country with 52% of respondents identifying it as the party “closest” to them, only 29% of likely voters would like to see GD’s candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili as Georgia’s next president, according to the June public opinion survey released on July 15.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for the U.S. National Democratic Institute on June 12-26 and was funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The survey was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interview with 2,338 respondents and has a margin of error plus, minus 2.9%.
10% of respondents said in June that UNM was the party “closest” to them – the same as in a similar poll fielded in March.
Compared to March poll, number of those identifying GD as the party “closest” to them declined by eight percentage points to 52% in June.
Asked whom they would like to see as the next president, 29% of likely voters named GD’s candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili; 10% named UNM’s candidate, who was not specified in a question as President Saakashvili’s party is still in the process of selecting its candidate through primaries in which ex-parliament speaker Davit Bakradze is leading.
26% were undecided and 7% chose none of the candidates; 5% refused to answer.
Nino Burjanadze, leader of the Democratic Movement-United Georgia party, who was parliament speaker in 2001-2008, was named as preferred president by 5% of likely voters, followed by leader of Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) Giorgi Targamadze with 4% and leader of Labor Party Shalva Natelashvili with 3%.
Asked which party they would vote for if local elections were held tomorrow, 54% of likely voters named GD, down from 62% in March; UNM’s rating remained statistically the same since March and stood at 10% in June. CDM and Labor Party were named by 3% each; 19% were undecided, 7% refused to answer and 3% said they would vote for none of the party.
75% of respondents think it is important for Georgia to have a strong opposition and UNM was identified as the strongest opposition party by 47% of respondents.
Favorability and Job Performance
The poll also includes a survey on how voters respond on a question whether they "like" or "dislike" specific figures. The list includes about thirty politicians, as well as Patriarch of the Georgian Orthodox Church, Ilia II, who enjoys the highest favorability ratings (92%) among the persons on the list.
PM Ivanishvili continues to be the most popular political leader with 69% favorability rating in June, down from 75% in March and 80% in November, 2012.
55% of respondents rated PM Ivanishvili’s job performance either as “very well” or “well”, compared to 63% in March and 69% in November, 2012.
Parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili is the second most popular politician with 61% of favorability rating, down from 66% in March.
UNM’s likely presidential candidate, Davit Bakradze, has 48% favorability rating - unchanged since March, and GD’s presidential candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili – 45%.
Nino Burjanadze’s favorability rating has increased from 16% in March to 21% in June.
Favorability rating of Vano Merabishvili, who is in pretrial detention since late May pending trial into multiple criminal charges, has declined to 17% in June from 26% in March.
Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani; Defense Minister Irakli Alasania and Interior Minister Irakli Garibashvili are among top three cabinet ministers with the highest positive performance ratings. While the ratings of Alasania and Garibashvili remained in June statistically the same compared to March poll (43% and 40%, respectively), positive performance rating of Tsulukiani declined from 52% in March to 43% in June.
Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili, who is GD’s presidential candidate, had 33% positive performance rating, up from 29% in March.
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.