Three Polls, Three Different Results
19 July, 2012
Three Polls, Three Different Results

Three rather serious organizations have recently published political ratings which are incompatible with each other. Both sides - National Movement and Georgian Dream – accuse each other of staging respective polls. In addition, experts too have reservations. However, the main finding is indisputable. The rating of the ruling party has subsided since the last survey, while the popularity of the main opposition coalition has grown.

 

Several months before the parliamentary elections, National Democratic Institute (NDI) polls again depict a changed picture as the rating of National Movement fell by 11% while Georgian Dream gained 8%.  In contrast to the position of the ruling party, a number of political experts and opposition parties expressly downplay the objectivity of the NDI polls.

In parallel, Association of Psychologists and Oxford University published results of their own survey which bears no resemblance to the NDI figures. According to the survey findings, the rating of Ivanishvili is 43%, higher than that of Saakashvili (30.7%). Many politicians and political experts conclude that neither of the survey deserves to be trusted. They note a gaping discrepancy among each opinion poll despite the fact that they were published in the same period. That is why they think it’s natural that doubts abound about them.

One more serious fact is worth noting. The number of people who decline to indicate their political preferences or are at a loss, is enormously large. Experts argue that this people cannot be seen as voters of the National Movement because the Movement supporters never hide their opinions, especially in the polls.

If we look at the first part of the survey, which deals with social issues, we’ll find that 80% of population shows discontent with the social problems. Political expert Kakha Kakhishvili says that it is completely abnormal when 80% of the society is in social distress but mostly are counted as staunch supporters of the National Movement which inflicted this distress to them. He does not rule out further fluctuations till the elections but eventually he expects forming of a public opinion with high rating of National Movement.

It is remarkable to see that the rating of Georgian Dream leader Bidzina Ivanishvili in one of the surveys is as low as 18%,  while simultaneously 27% of the respondents would join Ivanishvili’s rally in case of the election fraud. According to expert reviews, the surveys are simply ridden with such inconsistencies. One thing is clear that compared to previous similar surveys, the situation changes in favor of Georgian Dream. Most importantly, the population believes that the Government can be replaced via elections. Experts expect further shrinking in the ranks of National Movement supporters.

“When National Movement launches its election campaign, I am sure its rating will rise even more. We are interested in addressing major challenges such as unemployment, implementation of healthcare projects and agricultural programs. This is the main thing. Our steps in these directions will be closely reflected in the election results,” – this assertion is constantly perpetuated by almost all representatives of the ruling party.

Representatives of the Majority are more trustful of the NDI polls than other organizations. In every debate they steadfastly maintain that the rating of National Movement is twice higher than the rating of Georgian Dream. For the sake of objectivity it must be said that Majority members evade any question dealing with the fading popularity of their party (11% drop by the NDI poll).

Thus, two months and something is still left till the elections and situation is gradually starting to heat up. Now, pre-election environment and objective picture can only be fully seen by long-term observers who are already arriving in Georgia. On reflection, the newest history pages of our country remind us of the situations when the representatives of international organizations were relatively “strict” in their assessment of the elections but nevertheless, the revolution did happen. We hope that observers who are arriving in Georgia will meticulously examine every case of violation perpetuated by either side, so that their final conclusions will serve as a mediatory tool to fend off possible confrontations.