Opposition Distrusts IRI Surveys
04 November, 2010
Opposition Distrusts IRI Surveys

The survey conducted by the International Republican Institute (IRI) from 27 September to 7 October caused widespread uproar.

The survey funded by the United States Agency for International Development held one-to-one interviews with 1500 citizens of Georgia, all of them aged 18 and above.
You should take note that 54% of survey respondents trust news and political information provided by Kviris Palitra newspaper. As you may know, this weekly newspaper is a periodical of the biggest media holding in Georgia, Palitra

Media and boasts largest circulation in the country. Our English-language newspaper Georgian Journal is also a part of it.
Majority of political opposition expressed its distrust to the political part of the survey. Almost unanimously they claim that it was tailor-made for the Authorities to try to unleash another PR campaign in the public.


According to the survey, Mikheil Saakashvili is number one among the political leaders, as 77% of the respondents allegedly support him. Besides, most of the population names him as a person who is capable of solving nagging issues of unemployment and territorial encroachment.
56% of respondents are reportedly backing the prospect of Saakashvili becoming the Prime-Minister as opposed to 22% who feel clearly negative about it. Most of the respondents say that they would vote for the National Movement, should elections be held next week.
Majority of the polled citizens name improvements in the energy sector, road infrastructure, crime rates and police as the most significant achievements of Georgian Government. In contrast, the Government failed to enact similarly successful advancements in military and economic spheres. Economy, healthcare and education are those spheres where the citizens think the Government should first undertake the reforms.
According to the respondents, relations of Georgia are most amicable with the United States, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and the EU. As for the most important partners, here the United States and Ukraine come to the fore. At the other end are countries which are seen as on worst terms with Georgia. These are Russia, followed by Armenia. According to the survey, the biggest threat Georgia faces comes from Russia.

55% of respondents support participation of Georgia in peacekeeping missions, while 27% oppose them and further 18% have no specific answer. 84% of the surveyed are in favor of a dialogue with Russia, while 12% only partially supports the idea and further 1% gives a partial consent on the matter. 91% of respondents express trust in the Church. The Georgian Army scored 87%, while police and the Presidential office follow with 84% and 65% respectively.
On the question – would you vote should local elections be held next week – responses came in the following order. 49% said they would certainly take part in the elections, 29% said they are likely to do it, 10% did not make a choice, 7% felt outright negative and the last 5% was likely to abstain.
The respondents were also asked to present their opinion about the decision of certain political parties to opt out of local elections. 35% of them categorically denounced the decision, 14% expressed their partial disagreement, 8% agreed, 17% agreed only partially and the last 26% did not give a specific answer.
During this IRI survey, whose results were published a few days ago, respondents were videotaped. This was revealed by daily Resonance newspaper. According to the source, during the survey they even recorded names of the respondents. “Of course, this comes in collision with survey principles undermining credibility of the survey results,” – reads the newspaper.
Some sociology experts cannot even recall similar facts for quantitative studies in the history of the discipline. They say it is unethical to record such a survey. When the survey is social-political, it is natural that its respondent is likely to reply in front of the camera in a specific manner to avoid future problems.

Psychology expert Nodar Sarjveladze does not believe in the fact of videotaped survey. In his interview with InterPressNews, Sarjveladze categorically rules out even the slightest possibility of videotaping and called the information a rumor.
“How could IRI have done it? If so, they have to close themselves down. It’s ruled out. I do not know who is behind these rumors. It is like saying white is black. If someone is colour-blind, it’s his or her problem,” Sarjveladze says.

According to Irakli Alasania, leader of Alliance for Georgia, similar survey would be held during the run-up elections: “Though, most important results other than the surveys will be the ones to be tabled on 30 May, the day of elections. For me, the survey is what I am doing now – meeting with people and listening to their problems and opinions. Surveys like the one by IRI would be held in droves in the run-up elections.”

Giorgi Gugava, one of the leaders of Labor Party said that he distrusts the IRI survey because its aim is to keep the Georgian population as a colony of slaves. The Labor Party appeals the US Congress with a request to set up a special group in order to investigate activities of those American officials who work against Georgia.

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