TBILISI, DFWatch – The U.S. National Democratic Institute today presented its latest findings about public attitudes in Georgia.

The survey was conducted in February 2012 by Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC).

The topics for the questionnaire covered the themes of democracy, media, employment, local and foreign issues, current events and politics.

Among the most important issues were creating jobs, Georgia’s territorial integrity accessible health-care and poverty.

Compared to 2008, 19% considers the situation improved regarding creating jobs, 43% thinks the situation is unchanged, while 32 thinks it got worse.

70% consider themselves unemployed. 45% are looking for a job, 23% are retired or not looking for a job.

The NDI asked people which expenses they had most trouble paying for, and the answers were 72% trash and electricity bills as most important; then came the cost for municipal services, and then transportation costs.

Talking generally about democracy in the country, 49% of respondents think there is democracy in the country, 34% think not.

Luis Navarro, head of NDI Georgia office says this data has slightly changed after 2011, when 45% answered there is democracy in the country, 39% – negative.

If they were asked tomorrow, 64% would vote, which is 13% more than in 2011. There was a question about special commission, which verifies the accuracy of voters’ list mostly on door to door outreach of house households – 60% have no information about this commission, while 33% does.

77% of respondents live where they are officially registered; but 23% do not.

The NDI’s Luis Navarro drew upon the experience of a recent ISFED survey which showed similar results. ISFED found that about 29% of the population may be internal migrants.

Asking about current events, 87% are aware that Georgian billionaire businessman Bidzina Ivanishvili had his citizenship revoked and 65% are against this.

84% know about Mikheil Saakashvili’s statement that there is going to be built a new city called Lazika in Georgia. 59% support this, 27% are against it, and think it is more important to have social programmes or develop the cities that already exist.

88% of the respondents disapprove Georgia’s current relations with Russia. 49% think Russia is a real and existing threat to Georgia, while 30% think Russia is a threat but it is exaggerated, 8% don’t consider Russia a threat at all.

The survey was conducted from February 2 to March 5 2012. 3, 161 people were questioned.

At the end of the presentation of the survey, which was held on Wednesday at Tbilisi Marriott hotel, Luis Navarro said that generally people have an optimistic view about the country’s main direction considering that the government implements important changes for them. The majority supports Georgia’s NATO integration however also majority disapproves Georgia’s current relations with Russia.

The majority of the respondents support to restore Bidzina Ivanishvili’s Georgian citizenship and unemployment still remains a significant problem for them.

At Wednesday’s presentation of the survey results, journalists asked why no questions were asked asked about controversial new campaign finance law.

Navarro said a focus groups has been set up and that it wouldn have been to difficult for them to explain this law to respondents. He says people will be asked in the next survey.

NDI will present its results to Georgian political parties on March 26.