Attitudes toward politicians are related to evaluations of institutional performance

How citizens evaluate the performance of the state is often a reasonable proxy for its performance. In Georgia, evaluations of public institutions are mixed. While a number of social and demographic variables are associated with people’s perceptions of state performance, so too are people’s attitudes towards political parties and politicians. This shows once again how politics is personalized in Georgia.

The 2019 April CRRC/NDI data suggests that social and-demographic characteristics, including settlement type, ethnicity, and age are associated with perceptions of state performance. Ethnic minorities and rural residents tend to evaluate public institutional performance higher than ethnic Georgians or urban dwellers. In addition, young Georgians think public institutions perform well more often than older people.

Besides demographics, attitudes toward politicians are associated with attitudes towards institutional performance.  Positive attitudes towards Georgian Dream politicians are associated with more positive assessments of government performance. Interestingly, the same holds for attitudes towards opposition politicians, albeit to a weaker degree.

Note: An ordinary least squares regression model was used to generate the above chart. To measure the population’s attitudes toward institutional performance a public institutions evaluation index was created based on assessments of the following public entities: the current government, Sakrebulo (local councils), Parliament, Courts, Georgian Army, Georgian Police, Office of the ombudsman, Office of the Chief Prosecutor, and Public Service Halls. Attitudes towards the government and opposition affiliated politicians index are measured based on attitudes toward individual politicians asked about in the questionnaire. The regression model also included the following co-variates: Which party is closest to you? (First choice); intention to vote in the parliamentary elections; main sources of information; education level; employment status; age; gender; ethnicity, asset ownership index and settlement type. 

Partisanship also matters. Georgian Dream supporters evaluate institutional performance more positively than United National Movement or other opposition party supporters do.

While partisanship matters, attitudes towards government affiliated politicians still matter despite party affiliation when it comes to evaluation of public institutions. When supporters of different parties have positive attitudes towards GD politicians, they are more likely to evaluate government performance positively no matter what party they support.

Evaluations of public institutions are linked to how citizens see politicians. The more positive are people’s attitudes towards politicians, the more positive they are about institutional performance. This holds no matter the party of a given politician. However, partisanship still matters, with opposition supporters less positive about government performance than supporters of the Georgian Dream. Taking both of these factors together, suggests that attitudes toward government affiliated politicians is more important however.  Taken together, this suggests that institutional performance assessments in Georgia remain tied to personality.


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