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New Poll Shows Electoral Playing Field ‘Remains Wide Open’
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 21 Dec.'15 / 15:42


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

The new poll, commissioned by the U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI),  shows that number of those likely voters who have no preferred political party continues to outpace combined support of Georgia’s two major political forces.

The public opinion survey, which also looks into voters’ attitudes towards foreign policy issues and some of the current events, was fielded by CRRC in a period between November 17 and December 7. 1,881 respondents were interviewed and it has a margin of error plus, minus 1.8%. 

Number of respondents who said they would vote if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow increased from 49% in August to 64% in the recent poll.

32% of these likely voters said they did not know which political party they would vote if parliamentary elections were held tomorrow, almost the same as in August poll.

5% said they would not vote for any of the party, which is a 5 percentage points decline compared to August, and 15% refused to answer.

Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition’s support was up 4 percentage points since August to 18% in the new poll, but it was 6 percentage points lower than in April, 2015.

The United National Movement (UNM) opposition party had 12% support among likely voters, compared to 15% and 16% in August and April, respectively.

Free Democrats opposition party, led by ex-Defense Minister Irakli Alasania, had 7% support, compared to 5% in August and April.

Labor Party and Burjanadze’s party had 4% support among likely voters each, followed by Alliance of Patriots with 3%.

“The electoral playing field remains wide open,” Laura Thornton, NDI’s senior country director in Georgia, said. “While a third party, the Free Democrats, has gained in support, no party is significantly ahead and most Georgians are undecided about their political preferences.”

Number of respondents, who believe that the country is moving in the wrong direction has increased to 45% in November, compared to 37% in April, 2015 and 16% in August, 2014. 18% of respondents said in the new poll that the country is going in the right direction, down from 23% in April, 2015 and 40% in August 2014.

The recent poll was fielded shortly after when the dispute over Rustavi 2 TV ownership was dominant topic in the media and politics.
 
On a question if “Rustavi 2 ownership case is mainly politically motivated and aims at restricting freedom of media” 53% of respondents agreed and 21% disagreed; 14% neither agreed nor disagreed and 11% did not know.

36% of respondents agreed and 34% disagreed with a statement “Rustavi 2 ownership case is mainly motivated by a dispute between two private bodies and aims at determining a legal owner of the organization”; 15% neither agreed nor disagreed and 15% said they did not know.
 
Asked if they “feel safe or unsafe to share an opinion about current political events in Georgia with a friend through a phone” 38% of responded said they feel safe and 50% - unsafe.

Foreign Policy

When choosing between the European Union and the Russian-led Eurasian Union, support for the EU has increased from 47% to 58% since August, according to the new poll. 24%, down from 28% in August, chose the Eurasian Union.

Support for the EU among the respondents aged 18 to 35 stands at 65%, and is down to 58% among respondents aged 36-55 and further down to 50% among respondents older than 56.

Among supporters of the Georgian Dream-Democratic Georgia (the main party within GD ruling coalition), 61% chose the EU and 21% - the Eurasian Union. Among the UNM supporters 71% chose the EU and 21% - the Eurasian Union. 78% of the Free Democrats party chose the EU and 15% - the Eurasian Union.

69% of respondents, up from 65% in April 2015, said they approve government’s stated goal to join NATO, according to the new poll.

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