The FINANCIAL — U.S. National Democratic Institute (NDI) released its public opinion survey, which shows respondents’ attitudes towards broad range of issues, among them foreign policy, government performance and constitutional changes.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for NDI between June 18 and July 9 with the financial assistance of the UK Aid. The poll was conducted through nationwide face-to-face interviews (excluding occupied territories) with 2,261 respondents and has a margin of error plus, minus 2.2%, according to Civil.Ge.
According to the survey, number of respondents who think that Georgia is going in the “wrong direction” decreased to 31%, compared to 33% in April 2017.
31% of respondents think that Georgia is moving in the “right direction,” same as in April 2017 and November 2016. 35% think that Georgia is “not changing at all” (31% in April 2017).
The poll shows that respondents perceive jobs (52%), poverty (31%), territorial integrity (30%), rising prices/inflation (28%), affordable healthcare (25%) and pensions (22%) as the most pressing issues; these six priority issues have not changed over the past years and were represented in various sequences in all previous polls.
37% of interviewed respondents named roads among the most important infrastructural issues in their places of residence, followed by environment pollution (22%), water supply (17%), gas supply (17%), traffic (16%) etc.
Number of respondents, who support the government’s stated goal to join the European Union, has decreased to 77% from 80% in April 2017. In November 2016 and in June 2016 the figure stood at 72%.
The support for the European Union is high across the country with the only exception of settlements with predominantly ethnic minority populations – 53%.
66% of respondents said they approve the government’s stated goal to join NATO, a two percentage point decline compared to April 2017. 23% are against joining NATO, up from 21% in April 2017.
Support for NATO membership declined to 29 % from 42% in April 2017 among respondents in the settlements with predominantly ethnic minority populations.
On the question of Georgia’s foreign policy, 62% (65% in April 2017) chose the answer: “Georgia should join the European Union,” while 23% (21% in April 2017) responded: “Georgia should join the Eurasian Union.” 8% of respondents agree with neither of the statements.
According to the poll, 90% of respondents (92% in April 2017) have heard about the visa liberalization for Georgian citizens traveling to most of the EU member countries. Of those who have heard of the visa liberalization, 64% feel they have enough information about the procedures/rules of visa free travel, statistically the same as in April 2017.
Performance of Government
According to the survey, 52% of respondents evaluated the performance of the Georgian Dream government as “average,” with 10% evaluating it as “well” or “very well” and 35% as “badly” and “very badly.”
Asked a similar question on local government, 52% of interviewees responded “average,” while 16% named “well” or “very well” and 28% as “badly” and “very badly.”
21% of respondents said that they are satisfied with the work of Sakrebulo (local self-government assembly); 15% are dissatisfied, while 46% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
20% of respondents are satisfied with the work of the mayor’s office; 18% are dissatisfied, while 45% are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied.
Only 32% of Georgians reported that they are aware of the process to change the constitution, and of those few who were aware, the majority (59%) reports they do not have enough information about the changes. Only 2% participated in parliament’s public meetings. Further, a mere 6% of those who are aware of the new constitution say the changes reflect the people’s opinions, 47% say partially reflect, and 32% report “not at all.”
Half of Georgians (52%) are aware of the new legislation revoking the status of seven self-governing cities and merging them with the municipalities, while 44 percent are unaware. The majority of citizens (59%) disapproves of the merging of these cities and having them governed by one body, and only 16 percent approve. Further, half believe it will have a negative impact on the country (45%), while only 11% see a positive impact.
NDI plans to publish part of the public opinion poll involving political rankings on July 27.