According to a recent poll by National Democratic Institute (NDI), 59% of the population think that there is no democracy in Georgia. In other indicators as well, the Georgian government is facing significant downturn in popularity.
The poll revealed that for Georgians, the top three things that democracy stands for are freedom of speech (54%), equality before the law (33%) and defence of human rights (33%).
The survey also showed high discontent with the government’s performance among Georgians. Only 30% said the Georgian government is performing well, and the number of Georgians who evaluate the current government’s performance as ‘bad’ has increased from 49% in March 2018 to 64% today. A majority of Georgians, 53%, think that the country is going in the wrong direction.
The survey also shows that the popularity of the chair of the ruling Georgian Dream Party, Bidzina Ivanishvili, has continued to tumble. Thirty-nine percent of Georgians reported having negative attitudes towards Ivanishvili in April 2019, compared to 49% this past December. Only 17% reported having a positive attitude towards Ivanishvili and 29% said they were neutral towards him.
Ivanishvili’s main political rival, former president Mikheill Saakashvili, slightly outperformed Ivanishvili in the political ratings. Thirty-nine percent of respondents reported negative attitudes towards him, with 26% reporting positive attitudes.
As for the least liked politician, that title goes to Georgian President Salome Zurabishvili, who sits at the bottom of the list with 49% of respondents reporting negative attitudes towards her and only 13% reporting positive attitudes.
Meanwhile, Georgia's most liked politician is Davit Bakradze (positive 34%, negative 21%) of the opposition European Georgia party. He was followed by Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze (positive 34%, negative 22%) and Shalva Natelashvili (positive 29%, negative 25%), the chair of the Labour party.
Georgian PM Giorgi Gakharia is in 6th place, with 34% of respondents reporting negative attitudes and 27% reporting positive attitudes towards him.
Forty-five percent of Georgians said that they believed the government to be responsible for the violence that occured at the Georgian Parliament on 20 June. On this date, the government dispersed the rally, prompted by the presence of Russian MP Sergey Gavrilov in the Georgian Parliament. Giorgi Gakharia was the Interior Minister at the time.
[Read more on OC Media: Thousands clash with police as protesters try to storm Georgian Parliament]
Parliament, parties, and the Church
Public opinion of parliament is at a record low with 57% evaluating its performance as poor and only 9% giving it a positive appraisal. The poll also revealed that most Georgians have low expectations from their MPs. Sixty-one percent of respondents believe that MPs do not represent their interests as voters and 68% believe that MPs will serve their own, personal interests. A further 73% believe that MPs will do what their party tells them to do.
A majority of Georgians, 56%, are still undecided who to vote for. Though, 65% said that they would go to the polling stations if there were elections held tomorrow.
When asked who they’d vote for, 20% said Georgian Dream and 13% said United National Movement. However, the total number of potential voters for opposition parties numbered twice higher than supporters of Georgian Dream alone.
The rating of the Geogian Orthodox Church has hit its lowest point yet. Only 50% of Georgians said they rate it’s performance positively, in contrast to July 2019, when that figure stood at 64% or April 2015, when it was 75%.
TV remains the main source of information for Georgians, followed by the Internet and Facebook. Sixty-six percent reported that they ‘somewhat trust’ the information they receive from Georgian media.
As for respondents’ choice of channels, 30% said that they trust pro-government leaning Imedi channel the most for accurate information on politics and current events in Georgia. Only 53% believe that Imedi mostly reflects the interests of the ruling party.
Eighteen percent of respondents cited the main opposition channel Mtavari Arkhi, as their most trusted channel, while 12% said the same of Rustavi 2, the former main opposition channel.
According to NDI, they collected survey data from November 19 to December 13, in 2019, through face-to-face interviews with a nationwide representative sample of Georgia’s adult population, excluding occupied territories, that included 2,180 completed interviews. The average margin of error is +/- 1.9 percent.