Georgia’s Path to Euro-Atlantic and European Integration by Irakli Garibashvili
The International Republican Institute has published the results of the study for June
Two and a half months before the parliamentary elections, the majority (33%) of the Georgian population declares that they will vote for the ruling Georgian Dream party. The rest of the parties are significantly inferior to her in terms of popularity. The greatest support among them has the party of ex-President Saakashvili “UNM”, but it is only 16%. In total, the support of the pro-Western opposition slightly exceeds the number of the electorate of the ruling party. At the same time, the popularity of the pro-Russian parties in total is 4% (“Alyans Patriots” – 3% and “Democratic Movement – United Georgia” – 1%). 17% of the country’s residents do not know who they will vote for, and 11% found it difficult to answer.
These are the results of a study conducted in Georgia from June 4 to July 2 by the International Republican Institute (IRI), an American non-governmental organization that supports the development of political parties, civil society, free and fair elections..
Compared to the IRI poll conducted in October last year, the popularity of the ruling power has increased by 10%. In addition, the number of people who believe that the country is moving in the right direction has increased from 16% in October to 38% in June. At the same time, 53% of respondents are dissatisfied with the dynamics of Georgia’s development (68% in October 2019).
At the same time, 55% of survey participants are satisfied with the level of democracy in Georgia; 42% hold the opposite opinion.
Popularity rating and pandemic
In the popularity rating among politicians with 63%, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia is in the lead, followed by the representative of the “Georgian Dream”, Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze with 57%, the next on the list is; oppositionist David Bakradze from “European Georgia” (from 53%).
The highest rating is given to the Catholicos-Patriarch of All Georgia Ilia II (89%), the second place (74%) is held by the head of the National Center for Disease Control of Georgia, epidemiologist Amiran Gamkrelidze, who leads Georgia’s fight against COVID-19 infection..
Compared to neighboring countries, Georgia has low infection and death rates from COVID-19. So, as of August 13, 1,283 people were infected with coronavirus in the territory controlled by the Georgian authorities, with 198 active cases, 1,068 recovered, and 17 deaths..
47% of IRI respondents believe that the United States has provided the greatest assistance to Georgia in the fight against coronavirus.
79% (versus 20%) of those polled by IRI are satisfied with the actions taken by the government against the spread of the coronavirus. At the same time, 58% (against 39%) are satisfied with the financial assistance provided by the authorities to compensate the population for economic damage as a result of the epidemic.
At the same time, 67% of survey participants said that as a result of the pandemic, their financial situation has worsened, and 29% believe that the coronavirus has not had an impact on their families’ budgets..
At the same time, 82% of IRI respondents believe that the pandemic had a negative impact on the economic situation in the country..
In general, the problems that most concern the population of Georgia are of a pro-property economic nature. In particular, these are unemployment (46%), price increases (17%), poverty (10%).
The largest political (65%) and economic partner (51%) of Georgia was named by the IRI respondents to the United States; followed by the EU with 51% and 37%, respectively, followed by Ukraine (as a political partner – 22% and as an economic partner – 18%).
Russia is considered a political partner by 4% of respondents, and an economic partner – by 6%. At the same time, 82% of the IRI survey participants see Russia as a political threat, and 70% as an economic one..
At the same time, 39% of IRI respondents positively assess the policy of the Georgian government towards Russia, and 52% are dissatisfied with it, while 9% of respondents did not have an answer to this question.
72% of survey participants believe that Russian aggression against Georgia continues, while according to 18% of IRI respondents, the aggression is over, but may resume.
However, 59% of those surveyed said they feel safe in Georgia, although given the tense relations with Russia, 38% feel insecure while living in Georgia.
At the same time, 75% of the IRI survey participants support the continuation of the dialogue between Russia and Georgia, although 22% were against it..
The majority of the Georgian population continues to support the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration. Thus, 78% of respondents by IRI support Georgia’s accession to NATO, and 87% to the EU. At the same time, 45% want Georgia’s pro-Western course to be carried out on the condition of maintaining positive relations with Russia. Although 37% say that Georgia’s policy should be exclusively pro-Western.
6% of respondents support Georgia’s foreign policy to be pro-Russian, but at the same time believe that the country should maintain good relations with the West.
Only 2% of the IRI poll participants supported an exclusively pro-Russian foreign policy course. 10% of survey participants did not answer the question.
The IRI sociological survey was carried out throughout Georgia, excluding the occupied territories. It was attended by 1,500 people. The statistical error of the survey is 2.5 percentage points.