The National Democratic Institute (NDI) released the results of their most recent public opinion survey in Georgia regarding the country’s electoral system, political parties, and police activity on July 26th.
The fieldwork for the survey was carried out from June 18th to July 9th throughout the regions of Georgia, excluding the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 2,261 face-to-face interviews were conducted based on a sampling selection. The NDI survey was conducted by CRRC-Georgia. The average margin of error is +/- 2.2%.
According to the survey results, in 2009, 40-50% of the pollees thought that Georgia is heading towards the right direction, in 2010 - 50-53% thought this, in 2011- 36-60%, in 2012 - 55-60%, in 2013 - 40-55%, in 2014 - 40%, in 2015 - 25%, in 2016 - 20-32%. For 2017, 35% think nothing is changing for Georgia, 31% think that the country is heading in the wrong direction, and 31% think that it is heading towards the right direction.
According to 52% of the pollees, the main national problem is unemployment; 31% thinks it is poverty, 30% - territorial integrity, 28% - rising prices, and 25% think it is the lack of accessible healthcare services. 62% of the pollees do not consider themselves as employed. On the question regarding monthly income of the family, 52% of the pollees stated that it was less than 500 GEL.
In regards to local self-governments, 28% consider living conditions to be worsened since the 2014 local self-government elections, whereas 21% think it got better, and 49% think it’s the same. According to an NDI poll conducted in 2015, 9% answered that their living conditions got better, 43% that it got worse and 47% that it is the same.
35% of Georgians are dissatisfied with the work of the Government of Georgia, whereas 10% are satisfied and 52% take an average stance. As for Tbilisi, 39% negatively assess the government’s work, whereas 8% - positively and 51% - average. Similar data was recorded in the regions: 36% - were dissatisfied, 10% - satisfied and 50% neutrally assess the government’s work.
NDI asked regarding the new legislative amendments, which were vetoed by the President on July 23, which suggested revoking seven self-governing cities and merging them with municipalities. According to NDI, 44% of the pollees didn’t know about it, 59% disapprove the decision to revoke the status of self-governing cities, and 16% approve. Moreover, the results suggest that 45% think it will have a negative impact on the country and 11% think it will have a positive one.
“The poll shows that criticism from civil society, opposition political parties, and the President’s office regarding the changes in local government legislation is shared by the public, with extremely few citizens evaluating this legislation positively,” said Laura Thornton, NDI’s resident director in Georgia. “The parliament should consider further debates and study of these important changes and avoid the rush to press ahead with such an unpopular policy ahead of the elections.”