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Tuesday | 18 December, 2007

Pre-Election Polls | what would be needed

With the election in Georgia approaching fast, polls are beginning to appear every week. Unfortunately, many of these polls are taken at face value. The reality is that at this point there is not a single pre-election poll that has demonstrated credibility. This does not necessarily mean that polling firms and newspapers are simply fabricating their data -- it simply means that if they were simply fabricating their data, it would be very difficult for anyone to know.

So can we be confident that a poll is credible? There are a number of basic stipulations:

1. Reveal the sampling methodology. How, in other words, do the pollsters ensure that interviewing a few thousand people is representative of the entire electorate? Choosing respondents requires a) knowing where most people live, and b) having a very strong theory about which people are likely to turn out to vote on election day. This is very difficult stuff, and even tiny errors here can have tremendous consequences.

2. Tell us about the field work. Were the interviews done face to face or by telephone? When and how? Did the survey enumerators explain who they were working for, and is it possible that the respondents knew that they were looking certain answers?

3. Publish the questionnaire. What exactly was asked, and how, and in what sequence?

4. Document the non-response rate. How many people refused to answer? There are plenty of people who don't pick up the phone, or who don't have 30 minutes to talk to pollsters...and in this country, many of those people will vote.

5. Allow peer-review. Power point presentations for nonspecialists are fine, but make the data set available to peers for professional scrutiny (and of course you can restrict usage). If you really are confident in what you're doing, this is the way to go.

If polls do not meet the standards, they really do not deserve to be taken seriously.

Too many commentators forget that the burden of proof is on the polling firms, not on the public. We seem to be entering a dangerous cycle, where there is a lot of awful information floating around, and no one has the ability to sort the good from the bad. This is as much a problem with what the public is demanding as what the firms are supplying. The public should beware, and commentators should be very cautious about taking firms' power point slides at face value, until some basic methodological questions are answered transparently.

08.08.2015 | Saturday

What do CB interviewers’ ratings of respondents’ intelligence tell us?

CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer (CB) surveys regularly collect information about how the interviewers assess each of the conducted interviews – so called paradata that provides additional insight into the conditions surrounding the interviews (e.g., whether someone besides the respondent and the interviewer was present during the face-to-face interview), as well as interviewers’ subjective assessments of, for example, level of sincerity of the respondents.
12.05.2016 | Thursday

Public support for Democracy is on the decline in Georgia

Following the first ever peaceful transition of power in Georgia’s 2012 parliamentary elections, the country improved its position in the Freedom House and Polity IV democracy rankings. Results from the latest polls, however, show that public support for democracy in Georgia has declined over the past few years.
22.02.2013 | Friday

Before and After the Elections: Shifting Public Opinion in Georgia

The Georgian parliamentary elections in October 2012 attracted much international interest and ushered in an important turn in Georgian politics. In 2012 CRRC conducted four waves of a Survey on Political Attitudes in Georgia for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) (funded by the Swedish International development Cooperation Agency-SIDA) in order to track changes in public opinion associated with these major political events.
03.04.2014 | Thursday

Alternating Pasts, Changing Futures

Note: This blog is re-posted from the MYPLACE project's blog. The original MYPLACE blog can be found here

Claims to 2000 or even 3000 years of nationhood are not difficult to find in Georgia as has been amply documented (see Pelkmans 2006, Suny 1994, Rayfield 2013). The former president Mikheil Saakashvili was even fond of using the earliest human skulls found outside of Africa, in Dmansi in Southern Georgia, as proof that Georgians were “ancient Europeans.” 
23.06.2014 | Monday

Trust in local government in Georgia

On June 15th Georgian voters headed to the polls in local elections. There were problems leading up to the elections as detailed in last week's electoral notes. At present, results show a significant portion of positions in local government going to Georgian Dream Coalition (GD) candidates, though a number of races will go into second rounds
04.08.2014 | Monday

A look at (in)Justice in Georgia as charges are brought against ex-President Saakashvili

On July 28, 2014 charges were announced against the former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili concerning the abuse of power. These charges make Saakashvili the highest public official from the former UNM government to be summoned by the prosecutor’s office to date.
22.09.2014 | Monday

Russia as a threat: the Ukraine crisis and changing public opinion in Georgia

Following 2012 parliamentary elections, attitudes toward Russia in Georgia shifted. While in 2011 51% of the population considered Russia the main enemy of the country, in 2012 only 35% reported the same. Moreover, the share of Georgians who named Russia as Georgia’s main friend increased by 5%. In a post on the CRRC-Georgia blog, this change was explained by a so-called “spiral of silence”.
13.11.2014 | Thursday

Exploring Homophobia in Georgia: Part 2

This is the second blog post in a series analyzing homophobia in Tbilisi. The first blog post in this series can be found here. 

Who tends to be more homophobic in Tbilisi – men or women? This blog post explores differences in homophobic attitudes between males and females using data from CRRC-Georgia’s survey of Tbilisi residents on the events of May 17, 2013, and shows that men tend to be more homophobic than women. Moreover, the findings show that men are more homophobic when they believe that homosexuality is inborn, rather than acquired.
12.04.2012 | Thursday

Georgian get-togethers: Private Problems versus Politics

In September 2011, CRRC on behalf of Eurasia Partnership Foundation and EWMI G-PAC conducted a nationally representative survey on Volunteerism and Civic Participation in Georgia. Georgians were asked how often they get together and discuss private problems and politics with their friends and relatives (who do not live in their houses).
27.08.2010 | Friday

Ask CRRC: what does the public actually know?

A recent poll by the Pew Research Center showing that 18% of Americans think that US President Barack Obama is Muslim, and that a further 43% respond that they don't know what religion the President practices, has raised discussions about the level of political knowledge in democracies. Indeed, Newsweek has published a slideshow showing dumb things that Americans believe.
21.03.2008 | Friday

Philanthropy in Georgia

Corporate Social Responsibility, a fashionable issue, is becoming a topic in the South Caucasus as well. CRRC research fellow, Giorgi Meladze, explored Georgian corporations’ generosity in his research undertaken in 2006.
03.05.2008 | Saturday

Exit Polls | Take Two

Readers may recall that we voiced some concern with regards to exit polls. Here is a fascinating account, first-hand, by a reputed pollster having what they describe as an "Adventure in Baku".
06.05.2008 | Tuesday

Diversity Polling on the Caucasus | Ask500

Sometimes it's worth clicking on those Gmail links. "Ask 500" is a website in beta, the web version of a straw poll. Polling? Surveys? Obviously I wanted to know more. To say it up front: it's about as unrepresentative as you can get, since it assembles those that suffer from terminal curiosity.
21.05.2008 | Wednesday

Parliamentary Elections in Georgia | ODIHR Observation

With today's elections in Georgia, various themes come to mind. Certainly, elections have come a long way: by now, the Georgian government employs a series of highly qualified consultants, including Greenberg Quinlan Rosner of Clinton-fame, plus a Brussels-based PR firm, as well as working with experienced teams from the Baltics. This, then, is no longer the game of the 1990s, or 2003. Election observers know that they in turn will be observed, and maybe that's how it should be.
27.05.2008 | Tuesday

What do Georgian Troops Think about the Iraq War?

Recently, the Georgian Times published an article on a poll recently conducted by GORBI of Georgian Troops in Iraq. According to the article, this is the first poll conducted amongst these soldiers.
09.07.2008 | Wednesday

Caucasus Data | Language: Russian versus English?

Recently, we happened upon an article that talks about the use of Russian across the Caucasus. Is Russian becoming obsolete? According to the article, some Georgian politicians suggest this is the case. At the same time, the article points out that the uptake of English is too slow to replace Russian as a lingua franca.
04.08.2008 | Monday

Georgia: Women's Participation in Politics

Women’s participation at all levels of elections in Georgia is diminishing. As the Caucasus Women’s Network (CWN)reports, women inGeorgia were less represented in terms of candidates in the last parliamentary elections than in any previous parliamentary elections inGeorgia’s democratic history. On the other hand, women’s low political participation in elected bodies belies women’s activeness in civil society institutions, where females appear to be very active.
17.09.2008 | Wednesday

What do Russians think about the situation in Abkhazia and South Ossetia? -- Data Snapshot

How do urban Russians view the conflicts in South Ossetia and Abkhazia? From September, 5th-8th, 2008 the Analytical Center of Yuri Levada conducted a survey in ten big cities of the Russian Federation, interviewing 1000 Russian respondents. We have translated the results into English here, as they are only available in the original Russian on the Levada website.
26.10.2016 | Wednesday

რატომ არ მართლდება წინასაარჩევნო გამოკითხვების შედეგები?

საქართველოში ექვსი ოქტომბრის დილის რვა საათიდან საარჩევნო უბნების დახურვამდე დუმილის პერიოდია. დროის ამ შუალედში, კანონმდებლობის თანახმად, საზოგადოებრივი აზრის გამოკითხვის შედეგების გამოქვეყნება იკრძალება[1]. ზუსტად ერთი დღით ადრე, ტელეკომპანია „იმედმა“ საკუთარი დაკვეთით ჩატარებული მასობრივი გამოკითხვის ანგარიში გამოაქვეყნა[2], რომელიც მრავალმა პოლიტიკოსმა, ექსპერტმა თუ ჟურნალისტმა არჩევნების შედეგების წინასწარმეტყველებად მიიღო. ამ წერილში აღვწერ, თუ რატომ არ ემთხვევა (და არ უნდა ემთხვეოდეს) გამოკითხვის შედეგები არჩევნებისას და მიმოვიხილავ მეთოდებს, რომლებიც ხმის მიცემის შედეგების პროგნოზისთვის გამოიყენება.
23.10.2008 | Thursday

McCain vs Obama: Caucasus preferences


So here's something that we are a little puzzled about. The Economist is undertaking a poll to see which American Presidential candidate is favored by the world. In a very blue worldwide map, rooting for Obama, two noticeable yellowish spots, Macedonia and Georgia. McCain, of course, is popular in Georgia for having said "Today we all are Georgians" during the recent conflict.
08.11.2008 | Saturday

World Public Opinion: Azerbaijan in Focus

World Public Opinion is the initiative of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland that explores public opinion on a variety of topics in 25 countries across the globe, including Azerbaijan, the only South Caucasus country represented in the survey. Russia and Ukraine are the other two former USSR countries that the project includes.
19.11.2007 | Monday

Georgia's Performance? | Millenium Challenge Corporation's Meta-Index

With all the attention on Georgia, it may be interesting to revisit Georgia's most recent performance as seen by international organizations. As it happens, the Millennium Challenge Corporation offers a such an assessment through its annual scorecard, just released last week. This scorecard is a meta-index, drawing on data from the World Bank Institute, Freedom House, IFC, WHO, UNESCO and a few other organizations.
16.01.2017 | Monday

Developing the “culture of polling” in Georgia (Part 1): Survey criticism in Georgia

Intense public debate usually accompanies the publication of survey findings in Georgia, especially when the findings are about politics. The discussions are often extremely critical or even call for the rejection of the results. Normally criticism of surveys would focus on the shortcomings of the research process and help guide researchers towards better practices to make surveys a better tool to understand society. In Georgia most of the current criticism of surveys is, unfortunately, counterproductive and mainly driven by an unwillingness to accept the findings, because the critics do not like them.
15.08.2017 | Tuesday

Who makes political decisions in Georgia: What people think

Bidzina Ivanishvili resigned from the post of prime minister of Georgia on November 20th 2013, and in his own words, “left politics“. Speculation about his continued informal participation in the political decision-making process began even before he resigned and still continues. Some politicians think that Ivanishvili gives orders to the Georgian Dream party from behind-the-scenes, while others believe that he actually distanced himself from politics. Politicians, journalists and experts continue to discuss the situation. Meanwhile, a majority of Georgia’s population thinks that Bidzina Ivanishvili is still involved in the governing process and that his informal participation is unacceptable.
16.10.2017 | Monday

Visa liberalization: How much do people in Georgia know about the conditions of visa-free travel to the EU?

CRRC’s previous blog posts have shown that the population of Georgia had rather moderate expectations of the recent visa liberalization with the Schengen zone countries, especially when it comes to the question of how much ordinary people will benefit from it. Europe Foundation’s latest survey on Knowledge of and Attitudes towards the European Union in Georgia, conducted in May 2017, provides a more nuanced understanding on how people in Georgia feel about this process and to what extent they are familiar with the conditions of visa liberalization.
27.11.2017 | Monday

Perceptions of professionalism, corruption, and nepotism in local government

Professionalism, honesty, and fair competition are important in any institution. Yet, incidents involving corruptionnepotism and/or a lack of professionalism are sometimes reported in the Georgian media when the work of local government bodies is covered. How does the public perceive local government? This blog post describes data from the June 2017 CRRC/NDI survey, which show that a majority of people in Georgia thought that there were problems with nepotism and a lack of professionalism in local government. Moreover, roughly half of the population thought that their local government also faces a problem with corruption.