Is the victory of the pro-Western coalition possible in Georgia? GSAC Study
Unlike most polls conducted by various organizations on the eve of the elections, the poll of the Georgian Center for Strategic Analysis GSAC did not aim to find out the mood and attitudes in society towards a whole range of problems from socio-economic to global foreign policy issues. Moreover, the purpose of the poll was not even to find out for whom the citizens of Georgia are going to vote in general, although it is clear that this is the question that interests a wide audience the most.
The purpose of the GSAC poll was to find out the likelihood of a solid pro-Western coalition coming to power, and in fact, this is the main question to be answered by the Georgian voter on October 31. First, let’s define the term pro-Western course. The pro-Western course of a political party assumes that specific politicians representing this political force will under no circumstances give up the idea of joining NATO and the course towards integration with the European Union. If there are politicians in one or another political force who are capable of questioning these questions, this political force cannot be considered pro-Western. That is, the selection criteria were very strict, not at the level of declarations, but at the level of institutional and personal ties of party representatives with politicians, members of parliament, parties, international organizations, think tanks and foundations of the United States and European Union countries. On this case, anonymous polls were conducted (in personal conversations) both among representatives of the diplomatic corps and among representatives of the expert community of Western countries who are engaged in or are interested in Georgia.
Based on these criteria, five of the political subjects participating in the elections were chosen – the electoral blocs “Power in Unity”, “European Georgia”, “Strategy Agmashenebeli”, “Lelo” and “Girchi”. According to the majority of respondents, the ruling Georgian Dream is not a pro-Western party, although most experts and diplomats do not consider it a pro-Russian political force. As for other political forces, apart from the Alliance of Patriots, United Georgia and the Georgian March, which are clearly perceived as pro-Russian, most found it difficult to answer the question whether these political forces are unequivocally pro-Western. The poll was conducted in all regions of Georgia from October 20 to 25. Polling mode – Computer-assisted telephone interview (CATI). The sample consisted of 1,505 permanent residents of Georgia over 18 years of age eligible to vote. Sample by age, sex, region and size of the settlement. The margin of error is around four percent.
It is quite natural that the first question that was asked of the respondents was whether they support Georgia’s course towards NATO and the European Union.
complete support – 80%
Strongly against – 14%
Undecided – 6%
Complete support – 88%
Strongly against – 8%
Undecided – 4%
Well, the result is quite expected and very optimistic – 80% of respondents supported the idea of joining NATO and 88% supported the idea of integration with the European Union. This is slightly more than in the surveys of other organizations, but it is quite correlated with them. Indeed, the overwhelming majority of the Georgian population supports the idea of joining both NATO and the European Union. These figures have not fundamentally changed since the late nineties.
The next question is what political force you are ready to support based on the values of NATO and the European Union
Unity is Power – 22.1%
Strategy Aghmashenebeli – 11.2%
European Georgia– 9.3%
Lelo – 6,1%
Girchi – 3,5%
So, according to the answers, the pro-Western parties can be divided into three groups, the first includes the electoral bloc of the National Movement “Strength in Unity”. who is the undisputed leader among the opposition parties. The second group is the Strategy Aghmashenebeli and European Georgia, given the margin of error of 4%, they have practically the same result. Just like the result of Lelo and Girchi. Although purely according to my feelings, Lelo should have more, the result of this game, both in our and in other polls, for some reason turns out to be lower than expectations.
The main thing is that the total result of the pro-Western parties was 52.5%, and if this is justified, they will have the opportunity to form a government on their own. Judge for yourself how good this result is if we take into account the margin of error of 4% and the availability of administrative and other resources for the ruling party to improve its result. One thing is absolutely certain, the main issue of these elections will be the question of whether the opposition will be able to bring its supporters to the ballot boxes. because it’s one thing to answer on the phone for whom you are, and quite another to come and vote.
And for dessert, the results of answers to the question about the attitude of people towards candidates for prime minister. 54% of the respondents are good to Giorgi Vashadze, 51% to David Bakradze, 50% to Mikheil Saakashvili, 36% to Mamuka Khazaradze, and only 17% to Zurab Japaridze. Here, too, everything is quite understandable, the fact that about half of the population of Georgia is well-disposed towards the third president of Georgia is actually a good sign for the entire opposition. In this case, the attitude towards Saakashvili is not so much an attitude towards him personally, but an attitude towards the same nine years, when the National Movement was in power. Approximately the same result, taking into account the margin of error of 4% among his former party members – Giorgi Vashadze and David Bakradze. The negative attitude towards Mamuka Khazaradze is associated with his image of a banker, although Khazaradze himself considers himself not a banker, but an entrepreneur, but this is not so important. Exactly also, no matter what Zurab Japaridze thinks, the overwhelming majority of the Georgian population considers him a militant atheist and a supporter of drugs.
Conclusions – the study shows
1)Most of the Georgian population is supporters of the country’s integration into NATO and the European Union
2)Not all supporters of the pro-Western course are inclined to link their political sympathies with the classical pro-Western parties, and there can be exactly two declarations of this. First, a significant part of the electorate believes in the declared pro-Western course of the ruling party and other political parties not included in the list. Second, pro-Westernism is by no means a decisive factor in determining electoral preferences for everyone.
3)The victory of the pro-Western coalition is possible only under the condition of maximum mobilization of the electorate of the above parties and coordinated efforts to protect the votes.
Гела Васадзе, (Gela Vasadze) Georgian Strategic Analysis Center GSAC