Are individual Georgians politically polarised?
Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC-Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Givi Siligadze, a researcher at CRRC-Georgia. The views expressed within this article are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC-Georgia, the National Endowment for Democracy, or any related entity.
Political polarisation is seen as a critical issue in Georgia, so much so that overcoming it is a condition for Georgia’s bid to secure candidate status in the European Union. Indeed, many argue that political polarisation is one of the main causes of Georgia’s democratic backsliding.
Past research has shown that political polarisation has not led to diverging views on policy or ideology in society. Rather, views seemingly only diverge on individual politicians and explicitly partisan events, like the Rose Revolution and major elections. .
Newly released research from CRRC-Georgia suggests that at most three in ten Georgians can be categorised as affectively polarised, meaning that they distrust an opposing party regardless of their views on policy.
In the newly released study, respondents were asked how often they thought the ruling party and opposition did what the country needed.
Half of the electorate (52%) thought that the ruling Georgian Dream party rarely or never did what the country needed, while 35% reported that the ruling party often or always does what the country needs. As for the opposition, 71% of the public thinks that the opposition rarely or never does what the country needs, and only 9% of Georgians believe the opposition often or always does what the country needs.
The logic behind the approach is that people who respond similarly to the two questions can be considered less polarised — they believe that both parties either work for the country or do not. In contrast, people who assess one of the two positively and the other negatively can be considered polarised.
This produces a scale ranging from zero to four, with zero meaning that the respondent was not polarised at all, reporting identical responses to the two questions, and four meaning that the respondent was very polarised, reporting a very positive attitude towards one party and a very negative attitude towards the other.
On this scale, almost half of the electorate (45%) was not polarised at all, while 4% was highly polarised. A further 15% was quite polarised, scoring 3 out of 4 on the scale.
A regression analysis suggests that someone’s polarisation is not associated with their sex, education, settlement type, employment status, or frequency of praying (a measure of religiosity).
On the other hand, respondent polarisation was related to age, ethnicity, frequency of religious attendance, and party preference. Older people, ethnic Georgians, people who attend religious services once a week, and partisans all tend to be more polarised than other individuals.
It is worth noting that the analysis used two different measures of religiosity because they behave differently with respect to polarisation.
People who attend religious services often tend to be more polarised than people who attend less frequently or do not attend religious services at all. However, when it comes to frequency of praying, people who pray often are not different from people who pray less often or never when it comes to polarisation.
Measuring social distance among people with a party allegiance suggested that partisanship only has a moderate impact on friendships.
Georgian Dream supporters were more likely to say that they would feel uncomfortable with an opposition-leaning friend than voters who did not support any particular party. Similarly, opposition supporters were more likely to report that they would feel uncomfortable with a Georgian Dream-supporting friend than those with no party preference.
Regardless of these statistically significant differences, a very large majority of the public said that they would feel quite or completely comfortable with a friend with either political leaning.
While Georgian political discourse is often dominated by discussion of polarisation, the data suggests that a majority of Georgians are not polarised.
Taking partly free voters seriously: autocratic response to voter preferences in Armenia and GeorgiaDo voters in less than democratic contexts matter or are elections simply facades used to create a veneer of democratic accountability for domestic and international actors? Within the Autocratic Response to Voter Preferences in Armenia and Georgia project, funded by Academic Swiss Caucasus Net, CRRC-Georgia and CRRC-Armenia aimed to help answer this question, at least for Georgia and Armenia. On October 27, Caucasus Survey published the results of the project in a special issue, available here.
2018 წლის საპრეზიდენტო არჩევნები, განსაკუთრებით კი — მეორე ტურში დატრიალებული მოვლენები შესაძლოა, ქვეყნის დემოკრატიული განვითარების გზაზე უკან გადადგმულ ნაბიჯად ჩაითვალოს. პირველ და მეორე ტურებს შორის მთავრობამ განაცხადა, რომ არჩევნების შემდეგ დაახლოებით 600 ათასამდე მოქალაქეს ვალებს ჩამოაწერდა, რაც, ზოგიერთი დამკვირვებლის აზრით, ამომრჩეველთა მოსყიდვად უნდა ჩათვლილიყო...
But what do people want?
While many things could divide the public, what do the people think and which groups report more and fewer sources of division? The April 2019 NDI-CRRC poll suggests that there are fewer perceived reasons for division in rural areas and among ethnic minorities.
უვიზო მიმოსვლის ამოქმედების შემდეგ საქართველოს მოსახლეობაში შემცირდა ცოდნა უვიზო მიმოსვლის მოთხოვნების შესახებუკვე სამი წელიწადია, რაც საქართველოს მოქალაქეებს შენგენის ზონაში უვიზოდ მიმოსვლა შეუძლიათ, რაც რამდენიმეწლიანი დიალოგისა და პოლიტიკის რეფორმის შედეგია. მიუხედავად გასული დროისა და ევროკავშირის მიერ დაფინანსებული საინფორმაციო კამპანიის ჩატარებისა, ამ პროგრამის ამოქმედების შემდეგ საზოგადოების ცოდნა ევროკავშირში უვიზო მიმოსვლის მოთხოვნების შესახებ დაეცა. ამას მოწმობს 2019 წელს CRRC-საქართველოს მიერ ჩატარებული კვლევა ევროკავშირის მიმართ დამოკიდებულებებისა და ცოდნის შეფასების შესახებ. ამავე პერიოდში გაიზარდა საქართველოს მოქალაქეთა რიცხვი, ვინც ევროკავშირის ქვეყნებში არ შეუშვეს. მხოლოდ 2018 წელს ოთხ ათასზე მეტი ასეთი შემთხვევა დაფიქსირდა, რაც 2017 წლის მონაცემებს აღემატება.
The long-fought-over electoral reform was a compromise which represents two steps forward after three steps had been taken back.
Facebook is an important part of Georgian politics. Political campaigns are fought, and public opinion thought to often be formed on the platform...
Public opinion polls suggest support for democracy is on the decline in Georgia, but does support for democracy correlate to support for liberal values?
An increasing number of Georgians view their country as ‘a democracy with major problems’, with CRRC’s Caucasus Barometer survey showing the share of people reporting this belief to have increased from 27% in 2011 to 48% in 2019.
In parallel to this growing scepticism towards the country’s democratic situation, surveys show a decline in the proportion of the population believing that democracy is preferable to any other kind of government, falling from 65% in 2011 to 49% in 2019.
The COVID-19 outbreak generated discussion about whether support for democracy would decline during and after the crisis. While reported support increased, this did not necessarily match support for democratic means of governance.
Data from the CRRC’s COVID-19 monitor shows that more people in Georgia reported support for democracy compared to the pre-crisis period. However, as before the crisis, support for democracy does not seem to be grounded in the values commonly associated with democratic governance.
While personality in politics matters greatly for the Georgian public, data from this year shows that for Georgian Dream and United National Movement voters, policy is still important.
A recent CRRC Georgia policy brief argued that what was really dividing Georgians politically was personalities rather than policies. Data from the August 2020 CRRC and NDI survey provides further evidence for this idea.
However, the data also shows a difference between Georgian Dream (GD) and United National Movement (UNM) voters in terms of policy preferences and that economic policy is the most important issue for a plurality of voters.
Political campaigning takes a wide range of forms, from digital advertising to door knocking. Generally, campaigning is believed to both mobilise voters to actually go out to vote as well as win over voters, but which is most relevant in Georgia?
Data from the August CRRC Georgia and NDI public opinion poll indicate that people who wanted to be contacted by campaigners also appeared more partisan than others. This may suggest that campaigning in Georgia will be more effective at turning out partisans than persuading the undecided.
თითქმის ერთი წელი გავიდა, რაც ჯანდაცვის მსოფლიო ორგანიზაციამ ახალი კორონავირუსი გლობალურ პანდემიად გამოაცხადა.
მას შემდეგ, საქართველოში ვირუსით ინფიცირების 260,000-ზე მეტი შემთხვევა დაფიქსირდა, საიდანაც 3,300-ზე მეტი ფატალურად დასრულდა. მნიშვნელოვნად იზარალა საქართველოს ეკონომიკამაც, რომელიც 2020 წელს 1994 წლის შემდეგ ყველაზე მეტად შემცირდა.
შესაბამისად, საინტერესოა, რამდენად წარმატებულად აფასებს მოსახლეობა საქართველოს მიერ პანდემიასთან გამკლავებას?
With the pandemic still raging and accompanying economic restrictions still in force, Georgians are unsurprisingly pessimistic about their economic future. This holds true especially for supporters of the opposition United National Movement Party, above all other party supporters.
COVID-19 restrictions have impacted people’s economic activity heavily. This is reflected in key economic indicators such as GDP, which declined by 5.9% year on year between January and November 2020.
It is also reflected in employment, with fewer people reporting starting new jobs and more people reporting having lost one, according to the 2020 Caucasus Barometer.
Війна Росії з Україною шокувала світ. Вона також шокувала Грузію, а нове опитування від CRRC Georgia викриває ступінь наявних політичних наслідків.
Наслідки війни, що стосуються зовнішньої та внутрішньої політики Грузії, виявилися доволі масштабними. Офіційна позиція Грузії щодо війни була суперечливою: в той час як прем’єр-міністр Іраклі Гарібашвілі категорично заявив, що Грузія не приєднається до санкцій, накладених Заходом проти Росії, президент Грузії Саломе Зурабішвілі почала медійний та дипломатичний бліц у Європі, висловлюючи рішучу підтримку Україні.
Since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, at least 1.2 million Russian citizens have entered Georgia, equivalent to roughly 30% of Georgia’s population. While the number of Russian citizens who have decided to stay in Georgia remains unclear, the impact of this mass migration is strongly felt in rising rents and concerns over the country’s security.
Controversy over Georgia’s leading politicians’ actions and statements is commonplace. Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili’s recent statements on the war in Ukraine and the subsequent criticism surrounding it is just one recent example.
A year before Georgia’s general elections, a CRRC survey found that less than half of surveyed Georgian partisans would remain loyal to their favoured party if its leader were to establish a new party, with supporters of the ruling party more likely to stick with their party than supporters of the opposition.