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Last updated: 10:55 - 1 May.'18
NDI Poll on Foreign Policy Issues
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 17 Oct.'15 / 15:37

Source: NDI/CRRC public opinion survey, August, 2015

Number of Georgian respondents who support “government’s stated goal to join the EU” has dropped by 17 percentage points over the past year to 61%, according to a public opinion survey, commissioned by the NDI and fielded by CRRC in August.

Asked whether they support or not Georgia joining Russia-led Eurasian Union, 31% responded positively, same as in April 2015, and 46% negatively, up by five percentage points from four months earlier.

The poll is part of a broader public opinion survey, which also includes political ratings and public attitudes towards local self-governance and local issues.

When the respondents were offered a choice between two answers – “Georgia will benefit more from joining EU and NATO”, and “Georgia will benefit more from abandoning Euro-Atlantic integration in favor of better relations with Russia” – 45% chose the former and 30% the latter.

Source: NDI/CRRC public opinion survey, August, 2015

This figure of those respondents who believe that Georgia will benefit more from joining the EU and NATO represents a 4 percentage point decline compared to April, 2015 and a 9 percentage point drop since August, 2014.

Number of those who think that Georgia will benefit more from abandoning EU and NATO integration in favor of better ties with Russia (30%) has increased by 11 percentage points since August, 2014.

According to the poll, those Georgians approving Eurasian Union membership primarily cite perceived economic benefits (71%), not political or governance improvements, while 68% of European Union supporters say the same about joining the EU. Only 7% of Eurasian Union supporters think that Eurasian Union membership would strengthen democratic development. 21% of EU supporters believe that EU membership would strengthen democratic development.

“When you probe more deeply into the reasons for Georgian opinion vis-à-vis the EU and Eurasian Union, you can see that the drivers are largely the same – Georgians are motivated by economic, not political, considerations,” Laura Thornton, NDI’s senior country director in Georgia, said.

“Thus to address the increasing support for alternatives to the EU, one must look carefully at the factors that drive it and not mistake this support as simply political approval of a pro-Russian direction,” she added.

Among the cities, the poll shows that the highest percentage of those respondents who think that Georgia will benefit more from joining the EU and NATO is in Kutaisi (62%), followed by Tbilisi (56%); Mtskheta (52%); Akhaltsikhe (51%); Telavi (43%); Batumi (42%); Gurjaani (42%); Zugdidi (39%); Gori (37%); and Ozurgeti (31%).

Among supporters of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (the main party within GD ruling coalition), 51% chose the answer Georgia will benefit more from the EU and NATO integration, and 64% - from those respondents who are supporters of the UNM opposition party.

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