Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Do politicians serve Georgia’s public interests?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Dustin Gilbreath, a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at CRRC-Georgia, The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

A recent CRRC Georgia and NDI poll suggests that roughly half of the Georgian public, regardless of their partisan affiliations, believe that neither the opposition nor the ruling party serves their interests.

Political polarisation in Georgia has little to do with opinions on policy. An analysis of numerous questions on the regular NDI and CRRC polling suggests that the public has consistent preferences and concerns, no matter the party they support: Georgians tend to want a pro-Western foreign policy for the country, they are concerned about the economy’s development and jobs, and they tend to be socially conservative. 

While what the public wants is relatively clear, Georgians do not see the ruling Georgian Dream party or elected opposition figures working towards providing that.

The most recent CRRC and NDI survey suggests that a majority of the public thinks that neither the opposition nor Georgian Dream serves the interests of people like them, although 11% more of the public believe that Georgian Dream serves the interests of people like them.

About half of the country (46%) says neither party acts in the best interests of Georgia or the Georgian people. 

The data show some partisan bent. About one in five (19%) say that the ruling party is working in the best interests of the country, while the opposition is not. One in ten (10%) thinks that the opposition is working in the interests of the country, while Georgian Dream is not. Only one in eight (13%) think that both parties are working in the best interests of the country.

At present, 50% of the country supports no party or has refused to answer which party they support; 27% support Georgian Dream and 24% support an opposition party.

When the above data is broken down by partisanship, the data show mistrust among partisans and non-partisans alike. Nearly half of Georgian Dream’s supporters (47%) report that their party works for the people, while the opposition does not. In contrast, 54% of opposition supporters and 60% of those that report they do not support any party say that neither the opposition nor Georgian Dream is working for the people. One in five opposition supporters (22%) report that the opposition works for the people, but Georgian Dream does not. 

The data should give politicians pause, whether they belong to the ruling party or the opposition.

If most Georgians believe their political parties are not working in good faith, that might be an indicator of a larger issue of miscommunication — whether or not the public’s fears are unfounded.

Moving away from the relentless accusations and infighting that have characterised Georgian politics in recent years and instead adopting a positive vision for the country might help Georgia’s political parties regain the trust of the public.

The data used in this analysis is available here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Most Georgians believe that Georgia is not a democracy

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Givi Silagadze, Researcher at CRRC-Georgia, The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

The share of Georgians who think the country is a democracy is at its lowest for the last decade. Supporters of the ruling party are the exception to this trend, tending to believe that the country’s democracy remains a good example for others. 

Newly released NDI/CRRC data suggests that Georgians are growing increasingly skeptical about democracy in the country. Except for supporters of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) party, a majority of all other groups think that Georgia is not a democracy. 

As of 2022 August, only three out of ten Georgians felt Georgia was a democracy. Since 2010, when NDI and CRRC started to ask this question in nationwide surveys, this is the lowest share of the public expressing the opinion that Georgia is a democracy. Similarly, the share of the public explicitly saying Georgia is not a democracy was highest in August 2022. 

Note: There are no data for 2015 and 2016

Logistic regression analysis was conducted to understand the differences between different groups. Age, sex, settlement type, employment status, ethnicity, and wealth are not associated with whether people think Georgia is a democracy or not, while education and party support are. 

People with a tertiary education are more likely to say that Georgia is a democracy than people with secondary or lower levels of formal education. However, a majority of  people of all education levels tend to think that Georgia is not a democracy. 

By far, the largest difference in attitudes to this question are between supporters of different parties. Supporters of the ruling party are 38 percentage points more likely than opposition supporters and 41 percentage points more likely than voters with no party preference to consider Georgia a democracy.

GD supporters constitute the only group in the electorate of whom a majority think that Georgia is a democracy, controlling for other factors.

Another question on the NDI and CRRC August 2022 survey leads to similar conclusions. A quarter of the public (25%) think that Georgian democracy is a good example for neighbours, 31% believe that the country used to be a good example but ceased to be one, and another quarter (25%) feel that Georgia has never been an exemplary democracy. The remaining fifth (19%) of the electorate report that they do not know.

Multinomial regression analysis was conducted to better examine group differences. The results yielded were similar to those of the previous analysis. GD supporters hold exceptionally dissimilar and at the same time optimistic views regarding the quality of democracy in Georgia compared to the rest of the population.

Supporters of the ruling party are 35 percentage points more likely than opposition supporters and 32 percentage points more likely than non-affiliated voters to think that Georgian democracy is a good example for neighbours. GD supporters are also 30 percentage points less likely than opposition supporters and 16 percentage points less likely than non-partisans to believe that democracy in Georgia used to be exemplary, but no longer is.

The fact that the share of the public that considers Georgia to be a democracy is at its lowest since 2010 corresponds with the views of Freedom HouseThe Economist Intelligence Unit, and the Varieties of Democracy index, all of which have commented on Georgia’s democratic backsliding. 

However, GD supporters, in stark contrast to the rest of the public, tend to believe that Georgia is an exemplary democracy even in 2022. 

Note: The above data analysis is based on logistic and multinomial regression models which included the following variables: age group (18-34, 35-54, 55+), sex (male or female), education (completed secondary/lower, technical or incomplete higher education/higher), wealth (an additive index of ownership of 10 different items, a proxy variable), employment status (employed, not employed, other) ethnicity (ethnic Georgian or ethnic minority), and party identification (Georgia Dream, opposition, did not name a particular party).

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Do Georgians trust TV?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Kristina Vacharadze, Programs Manager, and Mariam Kobaladze, Senior Researcher at CRRC-Georgia,  The views presented in the article are of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

In an increasingly polarised media environment, Georgians have mixed feelings about how much TV and TV journalists can be trusted. 

Over the past decade, TV as a source of news has been on the decline in Georgia. With just 53% of those surveyed in 2021 using TV as their primary news source, as compared to 88% in 2009, it is clear that TV has lost its dominance. Nonetheless, it remains the main news source for  half of the adult population.

This fall in TV consumption has taken place against a background of an increasingly divided media environment. Media monitoring studies show that, in recent years, there have been clear trends of polarisation amongst television channels, with many strongly supporting either the ruling party or the opposition. 

This has been reflected in qualitative studies by CRRC-Georgia, in which many people have said that they have to watch news on several television channels to be able to draw reasonable conclusions on events that have happened and how they might interpret them. 

In such an environment, what does the Georgian public think of television and TV journalists? 

Can TV be trusted?

According to the Caucasus Barometer 2021, an annual household survey run by CRRC, 18% of the population does not trust any television channel for news about politics and current events and 14% does not watch television news at all. 

The most trusted television channels for news on politics and current events were found at opposite ends of the political sprectrum - the pro-government Imedi, trusted by a quarter (25%) of the population, and the pro-opposition Mtavari, trusted by 12%. Less than a tenth of the population trusted Rustavi 2 (8%), TV Pirveli (6%), and the Public Broadcaster (4%) more than any other station.

A regression analysis found that trust in TV and TV stations and viewing habits were associated with various demographic characteristics. 

Older people were more likely to watch and trust TV compared to other age groups. 

Ethnic minorities were more likely to distrust TV or not watch it compared to ethnic Georgians. This could be in part related to a lack of Armenian- and Azerbaijani-language programming on Georgian television. 

Working people were more likely to distrust and/or not watch TV news compared to people who did not work. 

People who supported a political party were more likely to watch and trust TV than people who did not support any party, or refused to report a party preference.

There were no patterns associated with settlement type, gender, or education level.

Note: The analysis uses a multinomial regression, where the dependent variable is whether people distrust TV, do not watch any TV channel for news about politics and current events, or trust a specific TV station. The independent variables are gender, age group, ethnicity, settlement type, level of education, and employment status.

What do the public think of TV journalists?

With a third of the population distrusting and/or not watching news on any television channel, what does the Georgian public think of the performance of TV journalists? 

About half of those surveyed (48%) believed that Georgian TV journalists inform the population about ongoing events in Georgia neither poorly nor well, while approximately a fifth of the population either positively or negatively assesses their work.

A multinomial regression showed that women were more likely to agree with the idea that TV journalists were serving their interests than men were. On the other hand, people living in urban areas assessed the performance of TV journalists more negatively than those living in rural settlements.

Party allegiance was also a significant predictor of people’s views: respondents who supported an opposition party were more positive towards the performance of journalists than supporters of the ruling party, Georgian Dream. 

Wealth (measured as the number of items a household owns from a list of 14) was also a significant predictor: poor people assessed the performance of journalists more positively than wealthier people.

Unsurprisingly, people who watched TV tended to feel more positively about TV journalists than people who do not watch TV.

A regression analysis did not show significant differences in attitudes between different age groups, ethnicities, people with different education levels, or with and without a job.

Note: The analysis uses a multinomial regression, where the dependent variable is whether people agree or disagree with the statement that TV journalists in Georgia are serving the interests of people like them. The independent variables are gender, age group, ethnicity, settlement type, level of education, wealth, watching TV and employment status.

The data shows a similar pattern with regard to views on whether TV journalists in Georgia serve the interests of the people. Slightly less than half of the population in Georgia (47%) neither agree nor disagree, while around a quarter (23%) believed that TV journalists do not serve the interests of the people, and a fifth (19%) believed that they did. Notably, people have become more pessimistic with regards to this question over the last decade, with a seven percentage point increase in disagreement with this sentiment between 2009 and 2021, and a 13 point decline in agreement with the statement during the same period. 

In the context of a very divided media landscape, it is notable that there is low public trust in television news and outlets. This trust appears to have fallen over the past decade, with fewer now believing that TV journalists in Georgia serve their interests. 

The data used in this post is available here.

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Who’s to blame for Georgia’s EU candidacy debacle?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Dr. David Sichinava, Makhare Atchaidze, and Nino Zubashvili, CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

As Georgian officials ramp up their anti-Western rhetoric, recent CRRC Georgia data suggests that most Georgians are uncertain who to blame for the country’s failed European Union membership bid.

On 17 June 2022, the European Commission decided not to grant Georgia EU candidate status, unlike Ukraine and Moldova. In its memo, the Commission recognised the country’s ‘European perspective’, while pointing at an extensive list of issues it needs to address before its candidacy bid is re-examined.

Officials in Brussels later explained that the EU will return to discussing Georgia’s candidacy status ‘sometime in 2023’, by which time the country is supposed to implement reforms addressing political polarisation, the judiciary, and ‘de-oligarchisation’ among a number of other concerns.

Following the announcement, Tbilisi became the epicentre of mass protests attended by tens of thousands of disappointed citizens. Protestors blamed the government for its inaction. Many alleged that the ruling Georgian Dream party deliberately tanked EU membership candidacy talks.

In the lead-up to the announcement, Georgia’s actions placed the bid into question; the country’s political leadership, including the country’s Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili, hinted that they would, “say everything” if the European Union decided ‘unfairly’ on the country’s candidate status. 

On the other hand, Irakli Kobakhidze, the chair of Georgian Dream, bluntly stated that if Georgia were to go to war against Russia, it would ‘have been guaranteed EU candidate status by December’. Adding fuel to the fire, the pro-government outlet Imedi ran a poll asking respondents what Georgia should do if the west asked the country to get involved in a war against Russia. Unsurprisingly, the majority said that the country should reject such a proposal.

As emotions have tempered, CRRC-Georgia’s omnibus survey clarifies how Georgians feel about the candidacy status controversy. Fielded in late July, the survey shows that most Georgians reject Georgian Dream politicians’ allegations that the country’s EU membership status was somehow contingent on Georgia’s involvement in a war against Russia.

Instead, people tend to blame the government’s inaction, polarisation, and the country for simply not meeting membership requirements.  Yet another rather worrying trend shows a small but statistically significant shift in the support for Georgia’s EU membership.

Who is to blame?

Overall, three-quarters of Georgians (76%) know the EU did not grant Georgia candidate status. Those who knew about it were asked what they thought the main reason behind the European Commission’s decision was. A third (30%) were uncertain. About a fifth (18%) blamed the Georgian government’s inaction, while equal proportions (14%) attributed this to political polarisation in the country and Georgia not fulfilling the requirements set for membership.

A further 8% believed that Georgia was not granted candidate status due to opposition meddling and sabotage. Fewer (4%) said that this happened because Georgia did not get involved in a war against Russia, with 3% blaming the Russian government. Close to 1% named options such as the government not complying with the agreement brokered by the President of the European Council Charles Michel, or that the EU does not need Georgia, Bidzina Ivanishvili’s supposed informal rule, former President Mikheil Saakashvili’s imprisonment, and the Ukrainian government’s stance towards Georgia. Close to 5% named other options or refused to answer.

Does the public believe the West asked Georgia to start a war with Russia?

No — most Georgians do not think that the EU candidacy bid was contingent on the country starting a war with Russia. Respondents were initially informed that some Georgian politicians claimed that Georgia would have only become an EU candidate if the country had waged war against Russia or opened a ‘second front’.

Next, they were asked whether or not it was true that Georgia would only be granted candidate status if it was involved in a war. Sixty per cent of Georgians said that this claim was either not true at all or mostly not true. Only one in six (17%) believed that the claim was either mostly or absolutely true. Importantly, close to a quarter (23%) were unsure, while a further 1% refused to answer.

Partisanship, place of residence, ethnicity, wealth, and education predict whether or not someone believed the statement. While a majority across the political spectrum reported that the statement that Georgia would have gained candidate status if it had engaged in a war against Russia is false, about a quarter of Georgian Dream supporters believe in the statement. Almost two-thirds of opposition supporters and those who say that no party is close to their views say that the statement is false. More than one-third of respondents who do not know or refuse to state their political preferences are ambivalent about whether or not the above-mentioned statement is true or false.

Ambivalence predominates among ethnic minorities and those with lower socio-economic standings. Notably, it also declines with increases in wealth: those who are most well-off are also the most polarised when assessing whether or not the statements about Georgia’s involvement in the war are true.

Where to now?

The European Commission handed Georgia an extensive list of priorities it expects the country to deliver on for candidacy status. The poll shows that most Georgians are sceptical that the government will be able to implement the necessary reforms the EU requested.

When asked whether or not they expect the Georgian government to implement the reforms, the plurality (45%) says they do not expect it to happen, with 17% saying they are not expecting reforms to move forward and 29% believing that it is more unexpected than expected by the end of the year.

By comparison, 29% expect the Georgian government to comply with the EU’s recommendations, about a quarter believe that it is more expected than unexpected that the government will implement the reforms, and 4% think that it is totally expected that the government will complete necessary reforms for Georgia’s EU candidacy status. A quarter of Georgians are unsure (25%).

Several civil society activists suggested that a technocratic government should oversee the implementation of the reforms. When asked whether or not they approved of creating a technocratic government tasked with implementing the reforms needed to fulfil the EU candidacy criteria, the plurality (42%) said they disapproved, 29% approved. More than a quarter were uncertain (26%).

Who is an oligarch?

Among the conditions the EU set for Georgia was the ‘implement[ation] of the commitment to “de-oligarchisation” by eliminating the excessive influence of vested interests in economic, political, and public life’.

While the opinion did not give a conclusive answer as to whom the Commission considered to be an oligarch, Georgian officials were quick to respond. In a 12 July Facebook post, Irakli Gharibashvili, the country’s prime minister, fiercely rebuked the suggestion that Bidzina Ivanishvili, the founder of Georgian Dream and a former Prime Minister, is still in charge.

Gharibashvili even penned another letter to Ursula von der Leyen, the President of the European Commission, where he requested that she distance herself from a European Parliament resolution that called for sanctioning Ivanishvili.

CRRC Georgia asked who the public thinks the EU considers an oligarch in their statement. Notably, more than half said that they didn’t know who the European Commission was hinting at. Among those that did have a concrete response, a third (35%) consider Ivanishvili to be the oligarch in question. Few (3%) named the currently imprisoned Former President Mikheil Saakashvili or Davit Kezerashvili, a businessman and a former defence minister. A further 2% named Mamuka Khazaradze, a co-founder of TBC Bank and the Lelo party, or Vano Chkhartishvili, a Shevardnadze-era businessman and alleged power broker under Ivanishvili. 

Interestingly, those who support Georgian Dream (51%), non-partisans (55%), and those that don’t know which party is closest to their views (62%) are more likely to be uncertain, while a majority of the opposition supporters (60%) believe that the EU was singling out Ivanishvili.

Is Euroscepticism spreading among Georgians?

CRRC Georgia’s omnibus survey shows that most Georgians (68%) still support the country’s membership in the EU fully (53%) or partially (15%). This is slightly less, though still broadly comparable, to previous levels of support in earlier surveys. The 2020 Caucasus Barometer showed that five percentage points more (73%) expressed full or partial support for EU membership.

In a similar survey fielded in mid-March 2022, EU support stood even higher at 75%, indicating a seven-point decrease over the course of five months. Still, this finding should be viewed with some caution, given that the surveys had different questions, which in turn can moderate or exaggerate support.

The decline in support for Georgia’s EU membership appears to stem from changing views among Georgian Dream supporters. In the 2020 Caucasus Barometer survey, Georgian Dream supporters backed Georgia’s EU membership by eight percentage points more compared to the July 2022 survey (68%).

Many in Georgia are afraid that the controversy surrounding EU candidacy might undermine public support for Georga’s EU membership. CRRC Georgia’s omnibus poll paints a rather complex picture. EU support runs high, and the majority disagrees with the baseless allegations that the West is dragging the country into a war against Russia. Nevertheless, survey results hint that some Georgians, particularly supporters of Georgian Dream, might be questioning their support for the EU. Whether this is the start of a real shift in public opinion or a statistical blip remains to be seen.

Note: Differences across groups are identified using regression models. Reported figures might not sum up to 100 due to rounding errors. A replication code for the analysis above is available here. Marginal frequencies and crosstabulations are available here.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Do Georgians worry about fake news online?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Salome Dolidze, a Researcher at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

Caucasus Barometer 2021, an annual household survey run by CRRC, investigated a range of attitudes and behaviours related to social media in Georgia. 27% of those surveyed felt that social media had a negative effect on the country, 18% a positive effect, and 42% a neutral or mixed effect.

Of those that thought it had a negative effect, 40% reported that the main reason for the negative effect was misinformation. This answer was by far the most common response to the question.

Similarly, more than half (59%) of those who use the internet worry about false information on the Georgian internet. Regression analysis suggests that some groups are particularly worried about false information. People over the age of 35 were more likely to report that they worry about false information online.  People living in rural areas were less likely to worry about this issue.

Other social and demographic variables such as sex, education, ethnicity, employment status, wealth, and having children in the household were not associated with attitudes towards false information on Georgia’s internet.

More than half of the internet-using population said that lately, they had noticed misleading or false information online about the COVID-19 pandemic (67%), elections (64%), and Georgia’s domestic politics in general (59%), while 43% say the same regarding global politics.

When it comes to reasons for disseminating misleading or fake news, 43% of Georgians think that the reason is to confuse people and distract them from real problems. The next most common reasons were advancing a political agenda or position (15%) or getting more engagement with their content (14%).

While Georgians recognise that misinformation is an issue, few do much to check the information that they receive online. One in five does not check if the information they are reading online is accurate and reliable. 

Around half (53%) of the internet-using population believe what they are reading on the internet but verify it in some manner. Some report using approaches like looking for the writer’s name and/or a publisher (36%), or looking at a URL address (4%).  A further 12% ask someone they trust, and 1% post on social media looking for clarification. 

Another 14% report they believe just about everything online, with 8% saying that they believe what they read on the internet because it is published, and 6% thinking that everything on the internet is accurate. 

Few are highly sceptical about everything they read on the internet. In total, 8% ignore most things they see, because they feel most information is questionable. A further 4% question all the information they access because they are sceptical about everything on the internet. 

The analysis shows that most people in Georgia who use the internet worry about the spread of fake news on the internet and social media. However, a large proportion of people do not check whether the information they receive on the internet is reliable or not. 

The data used in this article is available here. The regression analysis used in this article included the following variables:  Age (18-34, 35-54, 55+); Sex (male or female); Settlement type (Tbilisi, other urban, rural); Education level (tertiary or not); Ethnicity (Ethnic Georgian or ethnic minority); Employment status (employed or not working); Child dependency ratio (share of household 18 or under); Wealth index (A simple additive index of ownership of a number of durable goods within a household).

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

How do Georgians feel about drug users?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Dr. Tinatin Bandzeladze, a Researcher at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

Drugs have been slowly but surely finding their way into the everyday lives of Georgians for years now; in 2020 alone, CRRC Data suggested that drug users in Georgia, at a very minimum, spent $1.5 million on drugs through the dark web between February and August.

And yet, data from CRRC Georgia’s Caucasus Barometer suggests that drug users are still widely stigmatised in Georgia, creating a barrier to harm reduction and prevention programming and possibly standing in the way of reducing the harm of illicit drugs in Georgia through prevention-oriented policies.

Data from 2017, 2019, and 2021 Caucasus Barometer surveys suggest that the only group which people would least like to have as neighbours are criminals. Drug users take second place in the most recent wave of the survey, previously being tied in this position with homosexual people.  In 2021, 27% of the public reported they would least like to have a drug user as a neighbour. This share has not changed significantly, with movement remaining within the margin of error since 2017.  

Whether or not a respondent named a drug user varied with age, ethnicity, and settlement type.

Controlling for other factors, people over 55 are 15 percentage points more likely than people aged 18-34 to mention drug users as unwanted neighbours. 

Ethnic Azerbaijanis are 36 percentage points more likely than ethnic Georgians to name drug users as undesirable neighbours.

Settlement type is also associated with negative attitudes toward drug users. People in Tbilisi are 17 percentage points more likely than residents of other urban areas and 12 percentage points more likely than rural residents to rule out drug users from a list of potentially undesirable neighbours.

Employment, marital status, educational attainment, and religion are not associated with attitudes towards drug users in Georgia — at least not as measured by this variable.

The above data suggests that drug users are stigmatised in Georgia, with many implicitly preferring to have a criminal as a neighbour rather than a drug user. In turn, this suggests that the stigma drug users face may be a barrier to the effective implementation of harm reduction policies and programming in the country.

Note: The data used in the blog can be found on CRRC’s online data analysis tool. The analysis of which groups had different attitudes towards drug users was carried out using logistic regression. The regression included the following variables: sex (male, female), age group (18-35, 35-55, 55+), ethnic group (ethnic Georgian, ethnic Armenian and ethnic Azerbaijani), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), educational attainment (primary, secondary, technical or higher education), employment situation (working or not), marital status (married or single) and religion (Orthodox Church, other Christian groups, or Islam). The outcome variable was whether or not a respondent mentioned drug users.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

What makes a good Georgian citizen?

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Julia-Maria Xavier, an International Fellow at CRRC-Georgia. The views presented in the article are of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.

A CRRC survey shows that Georgians tend to agree that social values factor more into the making of a good citizen than political engagement.

Respondents were asked six questions relating to good citizenship. Of these markers of good citizenship, the importance of helping those worse off, following traditions, and volunteering were the most supported behaviours.

When asked about the importance of a good citizen to support people who are worse off, 97% thought it was very or rather important. When asked about the importance of following traditions, 92% thought it was very or rather important. Volunteering had the lowest consensus rate within this group, with 90% agreeing that it was very or rather important.

Behaviours generally associated with good citizenship included the importance of being critical towards the government, the opposition, and partaking in protests. Respondents who thought it very or rather important to be critical of the government and opposition did so at 70% and 68%, respectively. The least supported marker of good citizenship was protesting, at 56%.

Factoring in demographic characteristics offers the ability to see which of these markers of good citizenship has broad support across society and which are more divisive.

For the first group of questions in which there is 90% or higher agreement, models only explored whether a respondent reported that behaviour was very important or not. For the second set of attitudes, models looked at whether people felt a behaviour was important or not.

The data shows uniform support across social and demographic groups regarding supporting people who are worse off.

When it comes to following traditions, there are differences between a number of groups. Young people (18-34) were 11 percentage points less likely than those 55+ to think that it is very important for good citizens to follow traditions. Ethnic minorities were 19 percentage points more likely than ethnic Georgians to believe it very important. Those living in the capital were 15 percentage points less likely than those in urban and rural communities to think that following traditions is very important for good citizenship. Gender and employment were not associated with attitudes on this question.

Attitudes toward volunteering also vary by ethnicity and settlement type. Ethnic Georgians were 13 percentage points less likely to view volunteering as very important to being a good citizen than ethnic minorities would.

In Tbilisi, volunteering was five percentage points less likely to be considered very important compared to other urban areas and 11 points less likely to be considered very important compared to rural areas. Age, gender, and employment did not have a significant association when controlling for other factors.

The data shows much more significant variation in terms of the importance of political behaviour for good citizenship.

With regard to being critical of the government, ethnic Georgians were 39 percentage points more likely to think that it was important compared to ethnic minorities. Those in the capital were 14 percentage points more likely than those in rural areas to think it important. Age, gender, and employment were insignificant when controlling for other factors.

When asked about the importance of being critical towards the opposition, ethnic minorities were 30 percentage points less likely to think it was important than ethnic Georgians. Those in the capital were 11 points more likely to think it important than those in rural areas. Gender, and employment, when controlling for other factors, are not associated with attitudes on this question.

The last marker of good citizenship is participation in protests. Young people (18-34) were 13 and 10 percentage points more likely than those aged 35-54 and 55+ to view this as an important aspect of good citizenship. Ethnic Georgians were 27 percentage points more likely to think protests were important for good citizenship than ethnic minorities. There was no meaningful difference between settlements, genders, or employment statuses when controlling for other factors.

The above data shows that Georgians tend to emphasize supporting fellow citizens and following traditions rather than engaging in politics when they think about what it means to be a good citizen.

The data used in this article is available here. Charts only display statistically significant associations between variables.

The views expressed in this post are the author’s alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Europe Foundation, CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.