62% of respondents believe that former PM Bidzina Ivanishvili continues to be a decision-maker in government’s actions and 49% of those who think so disapprove it, compared to 41% who approve it, according to a public opinion survey which was commissioned by the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and fielded between March 26 and April 18.
40% of respondents disapprove criticism voiced by Ivanishvili against President Giorgi Margvelashvili in March; 35% take opposite view and 24% do not know.
The survey, released on Monday, was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) and was funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). The survey was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interview with 3,942 respondents and has a margin of error plus, minus 2.1%.
The survey, which shows respondents’ attitudes towards broad range of policy and current issues, also includes ratings of political parties; this latter part of the survey will be released on May 8.
Compared to a previous similar survey, fielded in the second half of November 2013, number of those who think that Georgia is moving in the right direction has declined by seventeen percentage points to 36% in April; 38% of respondents think Georgia is “not changing at all”, up from 28% in November, 2013.
Number of those who say Georgia “is a democracy now” has also declined – from 54% in November to 46% in April, which is statistically the same level recorded in the September, 2013 survey, but higher than it was in June, 2013 (38%).
55% of respondents either completely or somewhat agree with a statement that the government is making changes that matter to them, down from 73% in November, 2013.
On a question of prosecutions of former government officials, 59% of respondents agree with the statement that this process “is primarily based on the principle of holding government officials accountable for their actions” and 22% agree with the statement that this process “is primarily based upon the desire for political retribution.”
Jobs remain the number one priority issue for most of the respondents (61%), followed by territorial integrity, poverty and affordable healthcare, according to the survey.
62% of respondents said that protection of minority rights is important to Georgia’s democratic development, down by eight percentage points since November, 2013.
Majority (73%) of those 26% of respondents who say that religious minorities come first to mind when thinking about minority groups, believe that protection of religious minorities’ rights is important. 79% say the same in respect of ethnic minorities.
But figures are different when it comes to sexual minorities. 48% of those 22% of respondents, who say that sexual minorities come first to mind when thinking about minority groups, say that protection of rights of sexual minorities is not important; only 24% think it is important and 25% are “neutral”.
77% of respondents approve Georgian government's stated goal to join the EU, down from 85% in November, 2013.
Support for joining NATO decline from 81% in November to 72% in April, according to the survey.
Number of those respondents who agree with the statement that Georgia should join the Russian-led Eurasian Union increased from 11% in November to 16% in April.
58% of respondents agree with the statement "Georgia will benefit more from joining EU and NATO" and 22% said they agree with the statement: "Georgia will benefit more from abandoning Euro integration in favor of better relations with Russia"
Number of respondents who think that Russia “a real and existing threat” to Georgia increased by fourteen percentage points to 50% in April and 32% think that Russia “is a threat to Georgia but it is exaggerated.”
Number of those who think that Russia is “no threat to Georgia at all” declined from 23% in November to 13% in April.
72% of respondents approve Georgian government's “consideration of a meeting” between Russian and Georgian Presidents; 12% - disapprove.
46% approve government's response to the erecting of fences along the administrative boundary line with South Ossetia; 33% - disapprove and 20% - do not know.