NDI: Georgians Still Politically Undecided Six Months Prior to Parliamentary Elections

Recent poll results from the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and CRRC Georgia, which were presented on April 13, revealed serious problems in public trust of the majoritarian party and showed that many do not know who to vote for. Yet the majority of the Georgian population positively evaluates the work of the current Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili and suggests that Georgian Dream will win the upcoming elections on October 8.

Conducting this survey was particularly important in the context of the upcoming parliamentary elections in order to identify weaknesses and problems in the community, to hear the voice of the people and to identify priority areas for policy makers.

In particular, the poll shows that Georgians do not believe Members of Parliament (MPs) consider citizens’ opinions or take action to solve their problems. The majority (64 percent) believes their MP only represents his or her own interests, while only 24 percent of Georgians describe MPs as representing them. Almost no-one (2 percent) has been contacted by an MP or his or her staff since the 2012 elections, and fewer than one-third (31 percent) can correctly name their majoritarian representative.

“According to Georgians, parliament is falling short on its main responsibility – to represent the needs and interests of citizens. Its members, and even the building itself, are seen as inaccessible to the public,” said NDI Senior Director Laura Thornton. “It is critical that Parliament pursue institutional reforms and build a culture that encourages greater constituent outreach, accountability, and accessibility, which will lead to more responsive legislation and policy-making to ensure that democracy in Georgia is delivering.”

Citizens remain dissatisfied with ministerial work. They evaluate the Ministry of Labor, Healthcare, and Social Affairs the most favorably, followed by the Ministry of Justice, and the Ministry of European and Euro-Atlantic Integration. Recently-appointed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili received the highest net-positive evaluation of key leaders, with 27 percent assessing his performance as ‘good’ and 42 percent as ‘average.’

The majority of Georgians (61 percent) remain undecided about their political alignment, including half of likely voters. 16 percent of respondents choose Georgian Dream as the party which they feel closest to, 15 percent chose United National Movement (the former ruling party), 9 percent Free Democrats, 5 percent the Labor Party, and 5 percent the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia.

If elections were held tomorrow, 15 percent of the respondents of the NDI poll say they would vote for Georgian Dream, 13 percent for United National Movement, 6 percent for Free Democrats, 4 percent for the Labor Party, and 3 percent for the Alliance of Patriots.

Thornton claims that Georgians are dissatisfied with and disappointed in the country’s political leaders, saying they do not represent them and are not accessible to them. “It is not, therefore, surprising that citizens are completely undecided about their political support. Parties and politicians have a lot of work to do over the months ahead of the elections to rebrand, rebuild trust, and talk to voters about issues that really matter to them,” she said.

The results reflect data collected from February 23 to March 14 through face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of citizens of Georgia that included 3,900 completed interviews.

Eka Karsaulidze


14 April 2016 19:51