Elections on the horizon in Georgia, poll reveals voters main concerns
This issue has taken first place since 2009. After unemployment comes poverty, followed by territorial integrity in third place on the list.
Georgia’s parliamentary elections will take place on 31 October, and the outcome is considered by many experts to be of paramount importance for the political future of the country.
This will be the first time that elections will be undertaken with a mixed system. 120 seats will be allotted via the proportional system. In order to obtain a seat in parliament, a party has to garner more than one percent of the vote, and each party of a coalition must garner more than one percent of the vote. 30 seats will be distributed via the majoritarian system
The people’s expectations are high on the eve of the elections, with 88% percent of respondents intending to go to the polls. However, most of them have not yet decided who they will vote for.
Let’s take a look at the most important results of the research.
The majority have not yet decided who to vote for
• Of the 88% of respondents who said they would be going to the polls, 59% have not yet decided who to vote for. Consequently, the results of the election will mostly depend on their votes.
• Only 27% of those polled stated who they would vote for. Of them, 17% said they would vote for the ruling party, Georgian Dream, and 5% said they would vote for the leading opposition party, the United National Movement (the party founded by former president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili).
• 30% of the respondents said that the fundamental problem of the pre-election political arena was attempted vote buying.
• The deciding issues for voters are the parties’ policies in economics, health care and the rule of law.
The authors of the study believe that the results for each individual party are so low that they “should not be used to predict the results of the election”.
Unemployment, poverty, territorial integrity — the top three issues
The majority of the respondents have a pessimistic outlook.
32% said that, in their opinion, the country is developing wrongly. 20% think that nothing has changed at all.
39% believe that the country is developing correctly.
The seven problems that respondents named as the most important for the country:
1. Unemployment – 49%
2. Poverty – 39%
3. Territorial Integrity – 28%
4. Rising Prices/Inflation – 20%
5. Education – 13%
6. Low Retirement Benefits – 13%
7. Low Wages – 10%
The remaining problems mentioned were human rights, medicine and crime.
The number of respondents claiming unemployment to be the biggest problem has risen from 17% in June to 24% in August. The research proposes that this may be due to the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The basic health problem remains the high prices of medicine and medical services. However, 17% spoke of problems with access to hospitals and doctors.
Only 15% mentioned anything about a lack of professionalism among doctors and medical staff.
Only 43% of respondents had received monetary assistance from the government during the coronavirus pandemic, with nearly the same amount expressing their opinion that such help is necessary. 52% stated that the assistance was satisfactory, while 48% stated the opposite.
29% of the respondents think the government should help those who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Other desires on the list including subsidiaries for community services, provision of medicine, and debt forgiveness.
Roads, water, and the environment
Answers to the question of the major problems in the city or town where the respondent lived were as follows:
1. State of the Roads — 31%.
2. Water Supply — 22%.
3. Pollution — 13%.
4. Traffic — 13%.
Answers 3 and 4 were said mostly by residents of Tbilisi.
The sociological survey commissioned by NDI was conducted by CRRC-Georgia (financed by the government of the UK). 2,045 randomly selected telephone interviews were conducted in total from 6 to 11 August, in Georgian, Azerbaijani, Armenian, and Russian.