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Georgia Pre-election Poll Shows Public Demand for Responsive Economic Policy and Consensus-based Governance, Increased Vaccine Hesitancy

August 2, 2021

Tbilisi, Georgia – A new nationwide poll conducted in Georgia by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research reveals continued economic concerns and negative perceptions of growing political polarization. This poll was fielded in June 2021 prior to the start of the pre-election campaigns for the October 2021 municipal elections. 

When asked about the most important issues facing the country, Georgians named unemployment (45 percent), high prices and cost of living (20 percent) and poverty (8 percent) as the top problems, which aligned with opinions offered at the municipal and household levels. Additionally, 67 percent of citizens said that economic policy would be among the two components of a party’s pre-election program most likely to determine their vote in the upcoming local elections. 

“These findings are a clear call to action for Georgian political actors,” said Stephen Nix, Director of IRI’s Eurasia Division. “This poll demonstrates that Georgians want to see parties competing in the upcoming municipal elections put forth platforms focused on addressing economic issues.” 

Likely as a reflection on recent political events, 61 percent of Georgians believe there is growing political polarization in the country. Of those respondents, 97 percent consider this to be a bad development. Additionally, the April 19 agreement, which represented an important step toward defusing the political tension following the October 2020 parliamentary elections, was supported by 77 percent of those who had heard of the agreement. In spite of perceptions of increasing political polarization, voter enthusiasm remains strong, with 89 percent of Georgians stating they are very likely or somewhat likely to vote in the municipal elections.  

The survey also shows that Georgians are increasingly hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccine. According to the survey, 45 percent of Georgians say they will not get vaccinated — a six-point increase from IRI’s February 2021 poll. 

“This underlines the need for the Georgian government to focus its public messaging to increase vaccination rates,” said Nix. “As the vaccination campaign continues, more needs to be done to convince Georgians of the safety of the vaccine.” 

Methodology 

This survey was conducted on behalf of IRI’s Center for Insights in Survey Research by Dr. Rasa Alisauskiene of the public and market research company Baltic Surveys/The Gallup Organization between June 15 and June 30, 2021. The fieldwork was conducted by the Institute of Polling and Marketing. Data was collected using a multistage probability sampling method through in-person, in-home interviews. The sample consists of 1,500 Georgians aged 18+ and eligible to vote. The data was weighted for age, gender, region and settlement size. The margin of error is plus or minus 2.5 percent, and the response rate was 74 percent. This survey was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).