Asked two months before the elections whom they would like to see as the next president, 39% of likely voters named GD’s candidate Giorgi Margvelashvili, a ten-percentage point increase since June, according to a recent poll commissioned by U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) and released on Thursday.
UNM’s presidential candidate, MP Davit Bakradze, follows with 18%; in the previous similar poll in June, 10% named UNM’s candidate, who at the time was not specified, as President Saakashvili’s party was still in the process of selecting the candidate.
7% of likely voters named Nino Burjanadze, former speaker of the parliament; the figure stood at 5% in June – the change is within the margin of error.
16% are undecided, 6% refused to answer and 4% answered “no candidate”, according to the recent poll. There were combined of 38% of those who answered “don’t know,” “refuse to answer” or “no candidate” in the June poll.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) from August 18 through September 3 and it was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interview with 3,838 respondents; it has margin of error of plus, minus 2%.
Christian-Democratic Movement leader, Giorgi Targamadze, and Labor Party leader Shalva Natelashvili, were named as preferred next presidents by 3% of likely voters each.
Total of 23 presidential candidates have been registered to run in the elections - the largest number of candidates since Georgia held its first presidential election in 1990.
Second round of election will be required if no candidate receives more than half of the votes cast.
NDI, which has commissioned the poll, said the combined 26% of those who answered “don’t know,” “refuse to answer” or “no candidate” is large enough to determine both the final results of the first round and whether there will be a second round election.
50% of respondents identify the Georgian Dream ruling coalition as the “party closest” to them, followed by UNM with 12% - the figures in both of the cases are statistically the same compared to the June poll.
31% of respondents think there will be a second round; another 31% of respondents disagree and 19% say they do not know whether there will be a runoff or not.
According to the poll, in case of a runoff between Margvelashvili and Bakradze, the GD’s candidate was favored 49% to 24% for the UNM candidate; Margvelashvili had 33-point lead (50% to 17%) over Burjanadze in case of runoff between these two, according to the poll.
PM Ivanishvili remains the most popular political leader in Georgia with a 69% approval rating – no change since June.
71% respondents disapprove his intention about pre-term resignation, but 62% say that PM this intention will have no affect on how they will vote in the upcoming presidential election.
Parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili is the second most popular politician with 61% of favorability rating (question asked to respondents was 'do you like or dislike') – unchanged since June.
Margvelashvili is ‘liked’ by 56%, an eleven percentage point increase since June.
Bakradze is the most popular among opposition politicians, with a favorable rating of 49%, same as in June, followed by CDM leader Giorgi Targamadze with 36%, up from 32% in June; Shalva Natelashvili – 34%.
Nino Burjanadze’s favorable rating saw a twelve percentage point increase since June to 33%.