Although it remains the most popular political force in the country, the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition’s support seems to have declined with opposition United National Movement (UNM) and Free Democrats (FD) parties trailing far behind with sizable portion of likely voters undecided, according to a recent poll, leaked to media sources.
According to the same poll, number of those who think that Georgia is moving in the “wrong direction” has seen a 22 percentage point increase over the past year to 55%.
The public opinion survey commissioned by the International Republican Institute (IRI) and fielded by Institute of Polling & Marketing (IPM) on February 3-28 is the first one since Irakli Alasania’s FD quit GD ruling coalition in November and came at the time when Georgian currency lari had 29% of its value lost.
GD, whose nationwide party-list vote results stood at 50.8% in June 2014 local elections, has 36% support among likely voters, according to the part of the public opinion survey, which examines voting intentions of respondents for the parliamentary elections.
UNM has 14%, followed by FD – 10%; Labor Party – 6%; Alliance of Patriots of Georgia – 5%, and Democratic Movement–United Georgia, led by Nino Burjanadze – 5%.
12% of respondents said they would vote for none of the party and 11% either did not know or refused to answer, according to the poll, results of which were shared privately by IRI with political parties this week.
The survey also examines favorability rating of politicians, where Healthcare Minister Davit Sergeenko and President Giorgi Margvelashvili lead with 62% each with their unfavorable rating at 24% and 30%, respectively.
They are followed by Irakli Alasania, leader of opposition FD party, and parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili with 57% favorability rating each.
Among opposition politicians Alasania has the highest favorability rating, followed by UNM parliamentary minority leader MP Davit Bakradze with 47%.
PM Irakli Garibashvili has 56% favorability rating, followed by Justice Minister Tea Tsulukiani – 51% and Energy Minister Kakha Kaladze – 48%.
These political ratings are part of a broader public opinion survey, which also looks into public attitudes towards multiple issues related to domestic politics and foreign affairs.
55% of respondents think that Georgia is moving in the “wrong direction”, up from 33% in February, 2014, and the highest figure since June, 2009, according to the poll.
25% think that the country is moving in the “right direction”, down from 48% in February 2014, and 20% do not know.
The survey also examines “public confidence in institutions.”
According the recent poll, the Georgian Orthodox Church enjoys with the highest favorability rating with 91%, compared to 94% in February, 2014, followed by the Georgian army – 87%, compared to 93% in February 2014; Georgian media – 82%, statistically the same level recorded a year ago; police – 65%, down from 82% a year ago; education system 61%, down from 64% year ago; central election commission – 54%, up from 50% last February; president’s office – 51%, down from 64% in February, 2014; Parliament – 49%, down from 68% year ago; government – 48%, down from 69% last February; courts – 41%, down from 52 year ago.
78% of respondents are supportive of Georgia’s NATO membership and support for joining the European Union stands at 85%, according to the poll.
On a question if they are “willing to sacrifice economic growth in the short term in order for Georgia to meet the requirements of the EU Association Agreement”, 42% of respondents answered: no; 10% - yes; 15% - maybe and 33% did not know.
Georgian government’s handling of relations with Russia is assessed positively by 59% of respondents and negatively by 26%; 76% of respondents think that Russia is a “threat”.
1,500 respondents were interviewed in the survey, which was funded by USAID; it has margin of error plus/minus 2.5%.