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Georgian opposition is closing the gap on Saakashvili

by | Jul 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A new poll shows that the opposition Georgian Dream movement has nearly doubled its support in the last six months. But it still has a long way to go to match the ruling National Movement party, if the poll is correct.

The ruling party has twice as many supporters as Saakashvili’s main competitor force Georgian Dream, according to a survey conducted by National Democratic Institute (NDI).

If there were elections tomorrow, 75 percent would participate and 36 percent out of them would vote for the ruling National Movement party, 18 percent for Georgian Dream and only 3 percent for the Christian Democrats, which is a party represented in parliament and often in constructive discussions with the government. All the other parties have nearly no supporters at all.

Looking at persons, the leader figures within Saakashvili’s government have lost support, the same goes for the Christian Democrats, but Georgian Dream front man Bidzina Ivanishvili and others within his team have more support than in the last poll, which was conducted in February.

These are the results about political parties in the last NDI survey. The poll was done over a month ago and may not reflect the latest developments.

The first part of the survey, which applies to people’s attitude towards country’s internal or foreign policy, was published last week. On Monday Luis Navarro, head of NDI Georgia, presented the other half of the survey about support for the political parties.

This is first time NDI has officially published party ratings in Georgia. Before, NDI only shared the results with political parties. The reason was that party ratings shouldn’t be interesting for society, they are only necessary for the parties’ internal use. But public interest has been interested in known these ratings, and the results were made public indirectly leaks by political parties, which contained a certain amount of interpretation. This tended to cause misunderstandings, and then NDI had to do a lot of explaining.

Luis Navarro explains that the survey about political party ratings consists of four parts.

In the part about ratings of persons, there are ratings of government and opposition representatives, how people rate the activity of each of them.

Do you like this or that person, according to the answers to this question, the Georgian Patriarch, Mayor of Tbilisi Gigi Ugulava and President Mikheil Saakashvili are on the top of the list.

92 percent of those questioned like the Patriarch, 60 percent like mayor Ugulava, while 58 percent like Saakasvhili. As for the Prime Minister Vano Merabishvili, 55 percent like him. 53 percent like Davit Bakradze, 50 percent like Giorgi Targamadze, the leader of the Christian Democrats Movement. The rating of each of them has decreased since February. The rating of Gigi Ugulava, Vano Merabishvili and Davit Bakradze has decreased by 8 percent, Saakashvili’s by 12 percent, while Targamadze’s 4 percent.

As for the main opposition figure Bidzina Ivanishvili, 46 percent like him and the number has increased by 6 percent since February. His team representative ratings also increased, while the government representative’s decreased.

As for the other parties, their ratings are the same, with a few exceptions. Jondi Baghaturia’s rating increased by 6 percent and Nino Burjanadze’s by 4 percent.

If there were parliament elections, 36 percent out of 75 percent of those who would vote, would vote for the National Movement. In February 47 percent were to vote for National Movement. 18 percent would vote for Georgian Dream, in February 10 percent would vote for them. 4 percent wouldn’t vote for anyone, while three percent would vote for the Chrsitian Democrats, one percent for the rest of opposition: the Labor Party, Democratic Movement United Georgia, New Rights Party, Georgian Dasi, Free Georgia, National Democratic Party, Movement for Just Georgia, the Whites, European Democrats and Georgia’s Democratic Party.

34 percent of those questioned sees the National Movement as closest to them, for 20 percent it is Georgian Dream, Christian Democrats – 4 percent, other opposition – 2 percent, 15 percent doesn’t know, while 16 percent refuses to answer.

Whom would you like to be Georgian President? On this question, 22 percent out of people who would participate in the elections would like to see the National Movement candidate, 20 percent would like to see a candidate supported by Bidzina Ivanishvili, 6 percent would like to have Mikheil Saakashvili as president, even though he cannot be president for a third term, 4 percent – Giorgi Targamadze, 3 percent – none of the candidate, 3 percent – others.

The results are similar to those of an NDI survey conducted before the local elections in 2010, and the official results from that election. In fact, they are very close. It seems that NDI presented these ratings to show that NDI survey results really come true, because their surveys always cause dissatisfaction and distrust.

The poll was conducted from June 4 to June 22. 6 299 people were questioned directly. The margin of error is 2 percent. The survey was conducted by Caucasus Research Resources Center (CRRC) and was financed by Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

(Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the poll showed 16 % support for the National Movement and 16 % for Georgian Dream.)


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