Economy Top Issue, Vaccine Hesitancy High, NDI Poll Shows
According to new public opinion survey commissioned by the National Democratic Institute (NDI), a U.S. non-profit, Georgians are largely pessimistic about the direction of the country and the performance of institutions, as they identify jobs, poverty, and inflation – all worsened by the pandemic – as the top issues. Also, vaccination hesitancy remains high, especially among younger generations.
The survey was fielded by the Caucasus Resource Research Centers (CRRC) for NDI between July 13 and July 25 with the financial assistance of the UK Aid, and was carried out through nationwide mobile phone interviews (excluding occupied territories) with 2,016 respondents and has an average margin of error plus, minus 1.3%.
According to the survey, 49% of respondents say Georgia is going in the wrong direction, as opposed to 23% saying the country is going in the right direction. 19% say Georgia is not changing at all. Also, 51% of respondents said Georgia is not a democracy now, while 35% believe Georgia already is.
Asked to rate the performance of the government, 52% assessed it as bad, while 36% evaluated it as good. 9% did not know.
76% approve the government’s stated goal to join the EU, while 11% disapprove and 13% don’t know. The support to join the 27-member bloc is highest among Tbilisites (81%), and 18-34 age group (81%).
As for the NATO membership, 74% support Georgia joining the Alliance. The support to NATO membership is highest in Tbilisi, the capital with 79% as opposed to 69% in rural communities. Younger generations aged 18-34 support EU membership with 82%, as opposed to 66% among those aged 55 and above.
53% of respondents assessed the management of COVID-19 pandemic in the country as good, as opposed to 37% which rated it as bad.
Asked how they see vaccination process going in the country, 45% responded it is going badly, 37% said good, 18% don’t know. Tbilisi residents are most critical about the process with 54%, NDI survey said.
42% of respondents noted they don’t have enough information about vaccination, while 54% said they do.
47% of respondents said they will not get vaccinated, 35% said they will, 7% reported they already received vaccines, 11% don’t know.
Residents of Tbilisi and older generations are more willing to vaccinate. 39% of Tbilisites would receive vaccines and 37% would not. 16% of Tbilisites reported they are vaccinated. The figures for other urban areas stand at 33% for vaccination and 52% against. In rural settlements 34% said yes to vaccination and 51% said no.
Among 18-34 age group, 31% said they are willing to vaccinate and 56% are against. Among those aged 35-54 – 34% are willing and 47% unwilling. Those above 55 are most willing to receive COVID vaccination, with 40% saying yes and 39% saying no.
Asked why they are against vaccination, 47% say they do not trust the quality of COVID-19 vaccine, 20% named health related issues as the reason, 13% believe “we can handle COVID-19 pandemic without vaccination.” 7% said “vaccination has alternative goals.” Only 2% said they are generally against vaccination.
42% said they know how to register for vaccination, while 56% said they don’t know. Tbilisi residents are more aware of how to register, with 61% knowing and 37% not knowing. Figures stand at 45% and 54% for urban areas, respectively and at 27% and 71% for rural populations.
Jobs, poverty and rising prices were named as top three national issues with 41%, 38% and 29%, respectively (respondents could name up to three answers), followed by territorial integrity issue, pensions and education with 20%, 15%, and 13%.
Asked to name up to three biggest issues facing Georgian economy, 59% responded unemployment, 42% said rising prices, 19% stated poverty and the devaluation of Lari, national currency was named by 17%.
Nationally, 68% of respondents said they are affording fewer products, goods and services before the start of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. 29% said they afford the same amount. 2% afford more.
The poll also revealed that according to 56% of respondents cost of medicine is the biggest issue facing Georgia’s healthcare system today. 25% said the cost of medical care, 18% said COVID-19 related issues (respondents could provide up to three answers).
The ranking of top three issues were common for supporters of both, the ruling Georgian Dream and opposition parties, as well as for those that did not name party of their preference.
Asked to name top issues facing education system, 27% said difficulties related to online classes, 16% said low qualifications of teachers/lecturers, 11% reported no problems in the system. (respondents could name up to three answers).
As for local issues, 30% named roads, 22% said water supply, and 12% said pollution of environment. Figures vary for the capital city, urban areas and rural settlements. In Tbilisi, 24% named traffic, 22% said pollution of environment, 19% said roads, 14% said parks and green spaces.
In other urban areas, however, roads, water supply and environmental pollution were named as top issues by 29%, 14% and 11%, respectively. Roads and water supply were named by rural residents with 38% each.
Performance of Institutions, Sources of Information
Tbilisi Mayor’s performance was rated as good by 39%, as average by 29%, and as bad by 25%. Tbilisi City Assembly (Sakrebulo), however, was rated as good by 17%, as average by 29% and as bad by 29%. 23% did not know the answer.
The performance of Sakrebulos outside the capital city were assessed as good by 26%, as average by 34% and as bad by 29%.
Only 10% of respondents rated the performance of the Parliament of Georgia as good, 33% assessed it as average, while 47% rated it as bad.
Asked which issues they would like the parties in Parliament to discuss, 45% named jobs, 41% said poverty, 33% said healthcare. Rising prices and education came next with 30% and 18%, respectively.
Majority of respondents did not say or do not know which party is closest to them. 51% said no party, 10% said don’t know, 9% refused to answer. 18% named the Georgian Dream, while 6% said the United National Movement. NDI said these figures cannot be taken as a guide to upcoming elections in October, due to low declared support for individual parties.
57% said TV is the main information source from them (decline from 87% in April 2015) and 35% said social media/internet (up from 7% in April 2015).
Read the full text of the survey here: NDI Georgia_July 2021 Poll
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