Institute of Social Studies and Analysis Georgian Development Research Institute Analytical ReportStudy of the political preferences of the voters and attitudes towards the processes ongoing in the country November, 2011
Executive SummaryRelation to different institutionsAmong the acting institutions in Georgia, the most positive evaluation “traditionally” wasreceived by the Georgian Orthodox Church, whereas the most negative (traditionally aswell) was received by the Georgian Court System. High evaluation was retained by theMinistry of Interior, whereas the Ministry of Healthcare appeared among the negativelyassessed three structures, together with the Court System and the Prosecutor’s Office. Thiscan be explained by the failure of the prolonged reform of the healthcare system (whichwas admitted by the government itself) and the limited access to the healthcare services,which is currently considered as one of the major problems by the population.Respondents very negatively evaluated the possibility of increasing quantity of the MP’s upto 190. Also, they were very reluctant towards the possibility of moving the parliament toKutaisi.Evaluation of Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coming into Georgian politicsMajority of the respondents welcomes Bidzina Ivanishvili’s coming into politics (56.3%support his coming into politics). However, his first steps have been evaluated lesspositively (46.2% support his first steps). Such a difference (10%) between these tworesults indicates that the euphoria raised in the country by Ivanishvili’s coming into politicshas decreased to a certain extant. However, it should be noted, that this 10% of therespondents did not move into the group of those frustrated by Ivanishvili’s first steps intopolitics (negatively evaluating respondents), but into the group of the neutrally orientedones (assessment: “neither positive, nor negative”). This means that Ivanishvili’s movesafter his appearance in real politics mainly maintain the positive effect created by hiscoming into politics.Ivanishvili’s political partnersThe respondents observed with cautious optimism Bidzina Ivanishvili’s collaboration withFree Democrats and Republicans. No clear expectations exist that this collaboration will bepositive and successful; neither is there any domineering pessimistic mood. All of theseindicate that above mentioned parties should start political activities in a joint format andtake serious decisions to make the result of this cooperation viable for the voters.Party RatingsTwo political centers have been outlined in the Georgian political spectrum. These are:National Movement (36%) and Ivanishvili’s political force (32%). Among the others, moreor less influential seems to be the Christian-Democratic Movement with 4.3% supporters.
Ivanishvili’s political force rating has three sources:1. These are opposition oriented respondents, who, until Ivanishvili’s appearance intopolitics, were not identifying their position with any opposition political force. The reasonwas lack of trust towards any opposition party. Previously, when asked “which politicalparty would you support in the parliamentary elections?” they would respond saying:“difficult to answer” or “neither one”. Ivanishvili’s political force managed the return offrustrated opposition electorate into institutionalized political domain. The approximatenumber of defrustrated electorate is around 13%.2. Ivanishvili has successfully managed to bring on his side the supporters of otheropposition political parties. Ivanishvili’s coming into politics practically damaged all theopposition parties’ ratings.3. Ivanishvili’s political force appeared to be attractive for yet a very little portion of theruling party. Although, the National Movement Party in reality preserves the number ofsupporters (which during the last months fluctuated around 40%), Ivanishvili’s cominginto politics created first crack in the electorate of the ruling party. Ivanishvili has becomekind of an alternative for the ruling party not only for bringing the oppositional electorateinto a focus but for recruiting some of the ruling National Movement supporters as well. Asthe results of the polls show, at this stage, Ivanishvili has snatched from the competingpolitical parties (including National Movement) guaranteed 18%. Thus, Ivanishvili’spolitical power appears to develop a kind of synergy: it is becoming attractive for thevoters with different political taste.It appeared that such social-demographic features as sex, age and achieved level ofeducation have no influence while supporting domineering political parties. On the otherhand, the polling result showed that political ratings correlate with employment sector andnationality. The National Movement supporters’ number increased (and accordingly,Ivanishvili’s political force supporters’ number decreases) within the groups of those whowork in the public sector and among ethnically non-Georgian population (Kvemo Kartliand Samtskhe-Javakheti regions in particular). Ivanishvili’s possible electorate increaseswithin the group of self-employed and those who work in the private sectors.Competing political forces’ (Ivanishvili’s and National Movement) ratings also differaccording the regions: a. The governing party is superior in: Samegrelo, Samtkhe-Javakheti and Kvemo Kartli regions; Ivanishvili’s political force is an outstanding leader in: Imereti, Tbilisi and Mtskheta-Mtianeti. b. The competition between these two forces is visible in the following regions: Ajara, Kakheti, Shida Kartli, Guria and Racha-Lechkhumi.
Candidates for Georgian Prime-Minister’s, President’s and Parliament Chairperson PostsFor the voters, the main competitors for the Prime-Minister’s post are Ivanishvili andSaakashvili. The most compatible candidate for Ivanishvili is Alasania (Leader of Free-Democrats, in alliance with Ivanishvili) whereas for Saakashvili, it is Ugulava (the Mayorof Tbilisi). Correspondingly, Ivanishvili takes most supporters from Alasania, which alsomeans that Alasania on this post is Ivanishvili’s supplementary “vote donor”; the samehappens with Saakashvili and Ugulava as candidates. An interesting fact is that GiorgiTargamadze’s (Leader of Christian-Democrats) rating is “damaged” both by Saakashviliand by Ivanishvili. Therefore, Targamadze is a “vote donor” (though on smaller scale) forboth candidates.The outstanding leader for the presidential candidate is Ivanishvili. Saakashvili yet has noequal replacement. Ugulava, who is on the second place by the rating, has only 12.7% (areason for this is also the fact that Saakashvili has not yet named his successor). Everyfourth respondent had difficulties in naming the desirable presidential candidate. Thisgroup of people mainly consisted of Saakashvili’s supporters, who have not found worthyreplacement for this post. It is credible, that as soon as Saakashvili names his possiblesuccessor out of the governing party, pro-government voters who refrained fromanswering at this stage, will lean towards this candidate and Ivanishvili will have a muchstronger competitor for presidential post. Alasiania and at some points Targamadze also,as presidential candidates loose supporters in favor of Ivanishvili and act as reasonable“vote donors” for him.The future Parliament Chairperson’s post is the most diversified one– respondents couldnot name the distinguished leader for this post. (The highest rating has Bakradze 10.2%who is the current Chairperson of the Parliament). Moreover, every fourth respondentcould not name desirable chairperson for the Parliament. It seems that this post is lesspersonified for the society. An interesting fact is that neither Saakashvili, nor Ivanishviliare considered as desirable candidates for the post of Chairman of the Parliament, as itseems this post is considered less influential in Georgian politics.Expectations from the 2012 Parliamentary ElectionsThe respondents are excited to vote for the 2012 parliamentary elections. (78% said theywould definitely participate in the elections and another 11% said it’s more likely theywould vote). The readiness of the respondents is correlated with the belief of majority ofthe people (60%) that the forthcoming elections will be held fairly and also with the factthat the majority of respondents (more than 80%) have already made their preference infavor of certain political parties.Part of the opposing respondents (average 10%) think that majority of the people will votefor current government in the forthcoming elections and believe that the NationalMovement Party will win. Different factors serve to define such an approach: a) A part ofopposition supporters do not consider themselves as the representatives of majority amongvoters. (And consider themselves swimming against the mainstream). (Here we can hear
the echo of National broadcasting companies’ propaganda about total support towards thegoverning party and its achievements); b) Part of opposition oriented respondents knowthat the party they are supporting cannot win the elections; c) Some are sure that thegovernment will manipulate the results.Attitude towards certain politiciansAlthough in a diverse spectrum, the respondents seem to have negative attitude towardsmost of Georgian politicians (22 out of 32). The list of rejected politicians starts withBurjanadze (former Chairperson of the Parliament) and Noghaideli (former Saakashvili’sPrime-Minister). Only 7 politicians received positive evaluation from the suggested list.Ivanishvili was far ahead of others. Then the order is as follows: Saakashvili, Ugulava,Bakradze, Merabishvili (Minister of Interior), Targamadze, Alasania.Respondents are very cautious towards allegations concerning different politicians or non-politicians in Russian espionage. They do not believe even the guilt of those who have beenarrested according to these accusations (military analyst Maiasia, photo-reporters).Although, accusations in Russian espionage were more or less convincing in regards ofBurjanadze and Noghaideli, it seems that respondents’ attitude is supported by footageaired by media about the Russian visits of these two politicians and stories about theirrelations with Russian leadership.Hot issues in the country and expectations towards solving themThe respondents consider unemployment the most acute problem in the country. Therewas no significant reshuffling made in the traditional list of acute problems: respondentsstill name – lost territories, poverty, market price hike, high prices for healthcare and soon.45% of the respondents consider the ruling party has resources to solve the problems,whereas 46% dont. There is a lot of optimism in the public from Ivanishvili’s politicalforce: majority of voters (57%) hope that after coming into power, this force will solve thehot issues in the country.The frequency of media source usage and trust expressed towards themRustavi 2 and Imedi dominate the list of the most watched news sources. Maestro is theirmain competitor (especially in Tbilisi). It is noteworthy that one third of the respondents donot watch the news of the Georgian Public Broadcaster. Majority of the respondents alsodo not use printed media as news source. Among them, Kviris Palitra was rated the best.Getting news by radio has the lowest rate compared to other sources. The comparativelybetter rating was received by Radio Imedi.The frequency of media as a news source correlates with the peoples trust in theinformation given by them. However, there are exceptions: Maestro news has a fewernumber of viewers in Tbilisi than Imedi, although Maestro is trusted more than Imedi.