Tuesday, May 11, 2021

What’s a last name from Tbilisi?

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, Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in the article do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.

While regional identities and stereotypes are a prominent part of Georgian culture, what share of people identify with each regional heritage?

Regional identities (and stereotypes) are a prominent part of Georgian culture; Rachans are ‘slow’, and Gurians ‘talk fast’. While these stereotypes are just that, one question which is very much underexplored is what share of people identify with each regional heritage. 

Tbilisi is a melting pot of Georgia’s regional identities, with no clear understanding of which regional identity predominates. As one colleague regularly asks his students —  ‘what’s a Tbilisian last name?’

New data from CRRC Georgia’s omnibus survey demonstrates the point that while there are indeed many Megrelians in Tbilisi, there are more Imeretians. It also suggests that though a third of the country lives in Tbilisi, only a small minority consider themselves to be from Tbilisi. 

The survey asked respondents: ‘From which region of Georgia do you trace your origins?’ Responses to the question show the diversity of Georgia. 

In addition to naming foreign countries, respondents named 25 different locales, as shown on the chart below. A number of patterns stand out. 

For Mtskheta-Mtianeti in particular, the data is interesting in that people identify with their specific mountain region (Pshavi, Khevi, Khevsureti, or Tusheti) rather than the contemporary territory. Similarly, some identify with Hereti (a historical region of modern-day eastern Georgia and northern Azerbaijan) rather than Kakheti.

Note: The data on the above chart is not accurate down to the second decimal place. It is shown for the purposes of demonstrating the diversity of Georgian identities.

Aside from the above, it is abundantly clear that only a small share of Tbilisians identify their roots in Tbilisi. While 6% of the public identifies as a Tbilisian, 29% of the country’s adult population lives in the capital according to the 2014 census, which the data is weighted to. 

When the survey data is broken down to look at Tbilisi alone, it suggests that one in five (21%) in Tbilisi consider themselves Tbilisians. Imeretians are the next most common at 17%, followed by Shida Kartlians, Kakhetians, and Megrelians. 

If people from Abkhazia, many of whom are also Megrelians, are taken together, then Megrelians would make up 13% of the capital’s population. This would make Megrelian the third most common regional identity in the capital. 

Similarly, Kakhetians would make up 12% of the capital’s population if Kakhetian were combined with Heretian.

The above data demonstrates the internal diversity of Georgia’s regional identities, which often do not fully correspond to Georgia’s contemporary regional boundaries. Perhaps most notably, even though a plurality of the country lives in Tbilisi, few identify with the city itself. 

The data used in the above post are available here

Tuesday, May 04, 2021

How different are people who trust different TV channels in Georgia?

[Note: This post first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of OC Media and CRRC Georgia. The post was written by Givi Silagadze, a Researcher at CRRC Georgia.  The views expressed in this article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.]

The Georgian media landscape is often described as pluralistic but ‘extremely polarised’. But does the media merely reflect the prevailing political polarisation or cause it? 

The majority of sizeable TV channels in Georgia are politically biased. At the same time, for seven in ten Georgians, TV remains the main source of information.

While this is a classic chicken and egg problem, arguably, causation flows both ways. Nonetheless, it has been documented that partisan media can polarise consumers and radicalise partisan voters. 

While it is not possible to untangle cause and effect through the available data, it is possible to describe the differences between viewers who trust different stations. Data from Caucasus Barometer 2020 suggests that party preferences go hand in hand with media preferences. 

Moreover, after controlling for social and demographic factors, TV trust seems to be strongly associated with views on some current domestic political issues, but less so when it comes to foreign policy positions.

Overall, 66% of the adult population of Georgia named a TV channel that they trusted for news and politics in Georgia on the 2020 Caucasus Barometer survey. One in four Georgians reported that they trust pro-government station Imedi TV. In contrast, 14% named Mtavari as the TV station they trust. Mtavari is regarded as the station most critical of the government and pro-opposition.


Partisanship and media

Public trust in different channels reflects party lines to a great extent. A majority (57%) of Georgian Dream supporters said they trusted Imedi, while only 8% of the opposition-minded electorate and 15% of nonpartisans said they trusted the channel. 

Similarly, 47% of opposition supporters said they trusted either Mtavari or TV Pirveli, while only 5% of Georgian Dream supporters and 20% of nonpartisans trust either of those stations.

A regression analysis suggests that, after controlling for other factors, people who trust Imedi were 10 times more likely to support the Georgian Dream party compared to people that trust Mtavari or TV Pirveli. 

People who trust Rustavi 2 were 20 percentage points more likely to support Georgian Dream than people who trust Mtavari or TV Pirveli, but 35 percentage points less likely to sympathise with the ruling party compared to voters who trust Imedi. 

Current issues

Views on the direction the country is headed, views of whether people should protest, and views of the country’s handling of the pandemic were also associated with which TV station they watch. 

A regression analysis suggested that people who trust Imedi were sharply different from other groups in their assessments of the country’s direction. People who reported trust towards Imedi were 59 percentage points more likely to say that Georgia is moving in the right direction compared to people that trust Mtavari. 

TV trust was also associated with views on protesting. People who said they trusted Mtavari and TV Pirveli were significantly more likely to report that people should participate in protests against the government than people who said they trusted Imedi, Rustavi 2, and other channels, as well as those who do not watch TV or trust no station. 

People who said they trusted the opposition-leaning Mtavari and TV Pirveli were less prone to praise Georgia’s handling of the pandemic than people who trusted other TV channels, people who did not trust any channel, or those who did not watch TV at all. 

While there are some differences between the audiences of different channels, media consumption was not correlated with many factors. 

For instance, there was no difference between TV audiences in terms of whether or not they believed that areas of neighbouring countries where artefacts of the Georgian culture are located should be included in the borders of Georgia. The public largely reports that such territories should be part of Georgia. 

The question has implications for the Davit Gareja case, which attracted significant public attention during the pre-election and post-election period. The issue has been politically instrumentalised with pro-government channel Imedi adopting the slogan ‘Davit Gareja is Georgia’. 

Still, the formulation of the question in the Caucasus Barometer 2020 dataset is in general terms and therefore proxies attitudes rather than providing direct evidence of what the public thinks regarding the Davit Gareja case. 

As with the question on territory, there are limited differences between groups on foreign policy priorities. Even though a regression analysis suggests there are some statistically significant associations, these differences do not carry huge substantive importance as all the groups, ultimately, tend to support Georgia’s membership in the EU as well as NATO.

Another regression model was constructed to test associations between TV trust and support for Georgia’s membership in the Russian-led Eurasian Union. Some groups tended to sympathise more with Georgia becoming a member of the Eurasian Union than others, however, overall, the public disapproves of Georgia joining the Russian-led project. 

All else equal, the TV media environment seems to be at the core of the country’s polarised political discourse. 

TV is strongly associated with party preferences and assessments of many current domestic issues and developments, but less so with a foreign policy orientation. 

To what extent TV channels in Georgia persuade voters or make them more extreme, remains an open question.  However, what the above analyses suggest is that the socio-political landscape in Georgia is being increasingly divided into two camps. This divide revolves around contrasting perceptions of reality, and TV seems to be exacerbating rather than bridging the chasm.

Note: The above data analysis is based on logistic and multinomial regression models which included the following variables: age group (18-35, 35-55, 55+), sex (male or female), education (completed secondary/lower or incomplete higher education/higher), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), wealth (an additive index of ownership of 12 different items, a proxy variable), employment situation (working or not), IDP status (forced to move due to conflicts since 1989 or not), frequency of internet usage (every day or less often), and frequency of attendance at religious services (regularly/on special religious holidays/less often). 

The data used in this analysis is available here.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

What were the greatest successes of Shevardnadze, the UNM, and Georgian Dream?

Note: This post first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. The article was written by Dustin Gilbreath, Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in the article do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia, the Carnegie Foundation, the Levan Mikeladze Foundation, the Government of Sweden, or any related entity.

Each government of Georgia has had a wide range of successes; but how do the public see these successes from Shevardnadze’s time to the present?

When Eduard Shevardnadze’s government is mentioned in Georgia today, it tends to be connected with the dark times Georgia experienced in the 1990s. Yet, his government also saw the introduction of the Georgian Lari, resulting in a stable exchange rate.  

The United National Movement is credited with fighting petty corruption, and oversaw a period of relatively high economic growth, while at the same time failing to avoid the disastrous 2008 war with Russia. 

The Georgian Dream government too is seen as having had some success, for example, in reducing the prison population, from what was among the highest in the world. At the same time, incidents like the Gavrilov Nights and issues around election integrity are often cited as failures. 

While outside observers frequently point to a wide variety of successes and failures, what does the Georgian public think? 

Newly released data from a CRRC Georgia survey conducted in partnership with the Levan Mikeladze Foundation and Carnegie Europe provides a picture of the public’s views of the largest successes and failures of government. 

This post looks at the successes, while another post also published today (available here) looks at the failures.

Who has something nice to say about Shevardnadze?

The data says relatively few people in Georgia have something nice to say about Shevardnadze: a third of the public reported they could not name a single success of his government. The second most common response was ‘don’t know’, suggesting less approbation than the previously noted response, but still a lack of a clear success coming to mind. 

The relatively high share of ‘don’t know’ responses may in part stem from a lack of memory of government during this time, particularly for younger respondents.

Among responses that were actual successes, gaining international recognition of Georgia’s independence (12%) and building the east-west energy corridor and related responses (5%) were the most commonly named options. Other responses were named by 3% or less of the public.


Note: The questions about the successes of each government in Georgia were asked as open questions, which interviewers selected a corresponding category for from a list of potential response options. If the respondent’s response did not match with any of the categories among those available, the response was coded as other and specified. These responses are quite diverse and available in the dataset, here.

The data indicates that ethnic Georgians, older people, people in Tbilisi, and working people were more likely to be able to name some success of Shevardnadze. 

Supporters of different political parties were no more or less likely to name a success. However, those who responded that they did not know which party was closest to their views were less able to name a success of Shevardnadze. This may signal less awareness of politics more generally, and in this sense is unsurprising. 

The data suggested there were no significant differences between wealthier and poorer households, the internally displaced and not, and people with different levels of educational achievement.



The public’s views of the UNM in power

The United National Movement Government received praise internationally for its anti-corruption measures, and the country’s economy grew at a rate of between 5%–12% annually outside of the 2008–2009 great recession. Given this, it is perhaps unsurprising that when asked what the largest successes of the government were from 2004–2012, a quarter of the public replied fighting crime/law and order (24%) and another quarter economic growth (23%). 

Improved public services, elimination of petty corruption, and Georgia growing closer to the EU and NATO were each named by 5% of the public, as was that the government had no successes.


There were relatively few differences between the perceptions of Georgian Dream and UNM supporters in terms of the UNM’s greatest achievements, with one exception. Opposition supporters were more likely to view the UNM’s greatest success as economic growth while, Georgian Dream supporters were more likely to report that the UNM had no successes.



Georgian Dream’s wins

While more people could name a success of the Georgian Dream than Shevardnadze’s government, a mix of uncertainty and thinking the government had no successes was common. 

When asked what the Georgian Dream government’s largest success was, the most common response was that the government had no success, named by 21% of the population. The next most common responses was don’t know (13%). 

Among actual successes, the public most frequently named improved human rights protections (11%), effective mitigation of the COVID-19 pandemic (9%), and introduction of the universal healthcare programme (9%). 

Visa-free travel to the EU (7%) and the implementation of the Hepatitis C programme (5%) were also commonly named.


Unsurprisingly, Georgian Dream supporters were more likely to name a success of the government, and opposition supporters were more likely to say they have had no successes. 

People who were not aligned with any political party were significantly more likely than Georgian Dream supporters, but less likely than opposition supporters, to say that the government has had no successes.  

Among Georgian Dream supporters, the protection of human rights was named more often than among other groups. 

According to the Georgian public, Shevardnadze’s largest success, among those who could name one, was gaining international recognition of Georgia. Yet, three times as many people report his government had no successes. 

For the UNM, the public remembers its anti-corruption efforts as well as the country’s economic growth during this period. 

For Georgian Dream, people have more difficulty naming a concrete success than with the UNM, though more people can name a success for Georgian Dream than for Shevardnadze. 

Views about the UNM and Georgian Dream were divided along partisan lines, with people in opposing camps less willing or able to name a success of the opposing party.

Note: The data analysis of who can name a success for Shevardnadze’s government presented in this article is based on regression models controlling for respondent age group (18-35, 36-55, 56+), employment situation (working or not), party support (Georgian Dream, Opposition party, no party/don’t know and refuse to answer), education level (secondary or less, vocational education, or tertiary education), sex (female or male), settlement type (capital, other urban, or rural), and IDP status (IDP or not). The data used in this article are available here.

The greatest failures from Shevardnadze to Georgian Dream

Note: This post first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. The article was written by Dustin Gilbreath, Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in the article do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia, the Carnegie Foundation, the Levan Mikeladze Foundation, the Government of Sweden, or any related entity.

While each Georgian government has had a range of successes, as described in another post published today, they have each had their own spectacular failures. 

From Shevardnadze’s failure to establish state power outside Tbilisi, to the human rights abuses under the UNM and Gavrilov’s Nights under Georgian Dream, every government has had significant shortcomings. 

While these are some of the most memorable, little research has been conducted on what the public thinks are the largest failings of each government. Data released on Tuesday from a CRRC Georgia survey conducted in partnership with the Levan Mikeladze Foundation and Carnegie Europe provides a picture of the public’s views of the largest successes and failures of government. 

This article looks at the failures, as well as political divisions over them for supporters of the opposition and Georgian Dream.

Shevardnadze’s failures

When it comes to Shevardnadze’s failures, the most common failure named, by 21% of the public, was the country’s economic collapse. One in nine (11%) consider his government’s largest failure to be not preventing the wars in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. 

Electricity shortages (9%), ineffective governance (7%), crime (6%), and the 1998 fighting in Gali (6%) were also commonly mentioned. Still, a fifth of the public (22%) were unable to think of a particular failure.

Note: The questions about the failures of each government in Georgia were asked as open questions, which interviewers selected a corresponding category for from a list of potential response options. If the respondent’s response did not match with any of the categories among those available, the response was coded as other and specified. These responses are quite diverse and available in the dataset, here.

The data suggests that people in rural areas, ethnic minorities, and younger people were less capable or willing to name a failure, controlling for other factors. Young people being less likely to name a failure may stem from young people not remembering the time Shevardnadze was in office. 

Low awareness among ethnic minorities likely stems from the fact that ethnic minorities tend to respond ‘don’t know’ more often than ethnic Georgians in general on surveys.


The UNM’s failures

When asked about the UNM, the public tended to say that human rights abuses (27%) and not preventing the 2008 August War (25%) were the government’s largest failures. 

Not listening to the public (8%) and crackdowns on protestors (6%) were both also named relatively commonly. 

Seven percent answered that the government had no failures.

Views of the UNM’s failures varied by party support. Supporters of the opposition were much more likely to think that the UNM government had no failures. 

In contrast, Georgian Dream supporters were significantly more likely to report that the violation of human rights was the UNM’s greatest failure. 


Georgian Dream’s failures

With regard to the failures of the Georgian Dream government, weak economic growth was most commonly mentioned, with a quarter of the public naming this issue. 

The next most common response was ‘don’t know’, with one in five not being able to provide a largest failure. 

Failure to deliver on pre-election promises (9%), Gavrilov’s nights (9%), and failure to accomplish the restoration of justice (8%) were also named somewhat commonly. One in twenty in Georgia believed at the time of the survey that the government had no failures.

While there was not a partisan difference in terms of whether or not people believed the Georgian Dream government had no failures, Georgian Dream supporters were less likely to report they knew which failure was largest. 

In contrast, slow economic growth was the most common response for non–Georgian Dream supporters. They were also more likely to name a failure to deliver on election promises more frequently. 



Shevardnadze’s largest failure was considered to be the economic collapse Georgia experienced during his governance. The United National Movement’s largest failure was considered to be human rights abuses, while the Georgian Dream’s was weak economic growth. 

With these failures, the opposing camps of Georgian Dream and opposition supporters tend towards differing interpretations of their party’s failures. 

Note: The data analysis presented in this article about Shevardnadze’s failures is based on regression models controlling for respondent age group (18-35, 36-55, 56+), employment situation (working or not), party support (Georgian Dream, Opposition party, no party/don’t know and refuse to answer), education level (secondary or less, vocational education, or tertiary education), sex (female or male), settlement type (capital, other urban, or rural), and IDP status (IDP or not). The data used in this article are available here.


Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The evolution of feelings towards the pandemic

Note: This article was written by Mariam Mamatashvili, a Junior Fellow at CRRC Georgia. The article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint production of OC Media and CRRC Georgia. The views presented in the article reflect the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.

It’s been over a year since the first coronavirus case was recorded in Georgia, and attitudes towards the pandemic have continued to change.

CRRC Georgia’s Omnibus survey has tracked attitudes towards the COVID-19 pandemic since April 2020. Data from the most recent wave of the survey, in January, suggest that Georgians increasingly believe that the worst is already behind us. 

In April 2020, Georgia had low COVID-19 case counts. Given this as well as the difficult situations in other countries, it is perhaps unsurprising that 45% of the public believed that the worst of the virus was yet to come. At the same time, 26% thought that the virus would not be a major problem, and 14% thought that the worst had already passed.  

The data shows somewhat counterintuitive results in early October. Although case counts were rising quickly during the fieldwork period (6–16 October) and had been on the rise since September, the view of the plurality (48%) shifted to thinking that COVID-19 was not going to be a major problem. One potential reason for this pattern is that Georgia had experienced relatively few cases over the summer compared to the outbreaks witnessed internationally.  

In January 2021, a plurality of Georgians thought that the worst of the pandemic was already behind the country. This is in a context where the number of new cases had declined substantially after the November-December peak.  

At the same time, the share reporting that COVID-19 is not a major problem declined to 15%, which is unsurprising given that more than one in twenty people has caught the virus, and the economy has contracted.

The above patterns tend to hold across different age groups, sexes, and settlement types, but a number of differences between groups are present in the data.

In the most recent data, people with lower levels of education tended to be more uncertain and people with higher levels of education were more likely to think that the worst is behind us. 

Women were nine percentage points more likely than men to think that the worst is behind us. In contrast, men were more likely to think that the Coronavirus will not be a major problem.

People at or above the age of 55 were more likely to be uncertain than younger people. They were also significantly less likely to think that the worst is behind us. 

People living in rural areas were also substantially more likely to be uncertain in their views than people in urban areas.

Those who were working also tended to think that the worst is behind us slightly more often than people who were not working, who report slightly more pessimistic attitudes.




While in April, the public tended towards thinking that the worst was yet to come, in January people tended to report that the worst of the pandemic was behind us. 

The sense that the coronavirus was not going to be that large a problem declined in January compared with early October. Those with a higher education, women, people who have jobs, and younger people were more likely to think that the worst was behind us.

The data discussed in this blog is available here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Why do Georgians not want to vaccinate?

Note: This post first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog. It was written by Dr. Tsisana Khundadze, a Senior Researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in this post represent the author's alone, and do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia, NDI, or any related entity.

With two kinds of vaccines against COVID-19 already available in Georgia, the public’s attitude towards vaccination is becoming more and more important. So why are Georgians so sceptical of coronavirus vaccination?

While willingness to get vaccinated against COVID-19 was not high even in June or December 2020, it is logical to suppose that hesitation would only have increased after the unfortunate case of a young nurse passing away shortly after receiving the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine on 18 March. 

As the data from February 2021 CRRC/NDI survey shows, even before this incident, in February, only around a third of Georgians were willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19, with the largest concern being related to the quality of the vaccine.

The CRRC/NDI telephone survey from February 2021 showed that while around 40% of Georgians think that the government’s plan for COVID-19 vaccination is effective, the rest either thinks that it is not effective or are not sure about the plan. When asked about actually vaccinating against COVID-19, only 35% of Georgians said they will vaccinate, while a majority (53%) reported they would refuse

When it comes to the reason why people are hesitant to be vaccinated, a lack of trust in the quality of COVID-19 vaccinations dominates. Also, 1 out of 5 people who are not willing to vaccinate, think that we can handle the pandemic without vaccination. Some of the people who are not willing to vaccinate also attribute their decision to health-related issues. 

Besides these reasons, 1 out of 20 vaccine-hesitant  Georgians said they are generally against vaccination or believe that vaccination has alternative goals.

Note: Question was asked only to those who did not say they would vaccinate.

Who is most sceptical of vaccination?

In order to better understand Georgians’ attitudes towards COVID-19 vaccination and the reasons for hesitance, a regression model was run. The analysis showed that men were around 1.3 times more likely to say they would vaccinate than women. People over 54 were again 1.3 times more likely to say they would vaccinate than younger people. People with higher than secondary education were around 1.5 times more likely to be willing to vaccinate than those with secondary technical or secondary education. 

Regression analysis also showed that Georgian Dream supporters were 1.5 times more likely to say they would vaccinate, compared to opposition supporters or people who do not identify with any political party. 

Interestingly, people who named TV or the internet as their main source of information about COVID-19 were more likely to be willing to vaccinate, with internet users being more likely to say so than people who named other sources as primary. 

There were no significant differences between people of different settlement types and employment statuses after controlling for other factors.

Note: This and the following charts were generated from a regression model. The model includes sex (male, female), age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, tertiary), employment status (employed, not employed), party support (Georgian Dream, opposition, did not name a party), and source of information about COVID-19 (TV, Internet/Facebook, other).

As for the reasons for not vaccinating, regression analysis shows that the quality of the vaccine was around 1.2 times more likely to be questioned by women than men. Opposition supporters were almost twice as likely to say they don’t trust the quality of COVID-19 vaccines. 

People who named TV as their main source of information about COVID-19 were more likely to question the quality of the vaccine compared to people who named the internet or other sources as primary. 

There were no significant differences between people of different ages, settlement types, education levels, or employment statuses.

Who thinks we can handle the pandemic without vaccination?

Regression analysis also showed that men were 1.5 times more likely to state that they believed we can handle the pandemic without vaccination. Younger people were 1.9 times more likely to say the same, compared to people over 54. 

Inhabitants of the capital were also 1.6 times more likely to think we can handle the pandemic without vaccination than people living in rural areas. Georgian Dream supporters were more than two times as likely to think so as opposition supporters. 

Finally, people who named the internet as their main source of information about COVID-19 were 1.4 times more likely to say we can handle the pandemic without vaccination than people who name TV as their primary source. 

No significant differences between people of different education levels and employment statuses were present.

Regression analysis also suggested that when it comes to being against vaccination in general and attributing alternative goals to the vaccination process, education was the only factor that makes a difference in people’s opinions. 

People with secondary or lower education were 1.9 times more likely be against vaccination in general or attribute alternative goals to vaccination, than people with higher education. 

There were no significant differences between people of different sex, age, settlement type, employment status, party affiliation, or sources of information about COVID-19.

February 2021 data from the CRRC/NDI survey showed that the majority of Georgians are not convinced of the effectiveness of the government’s COVID-19 vaccination plan and also are not willing to vaccinate against COVID-19. 

The most common reason for not doing so was a lack of trust in the quality of the COVID-19 vaccine and belief that pandemic can be handled without vaccination. 

Men, older people, people with higher education, Georgian Dream supporters, and those who receive information about COVID-19 primarily from the internet were more likely to be willing to vaccinate. 

When it comes to reasons for not vaccinating, women, opposition supporters, and people who name TV as their main source of information about COVID-19 were most likely to doubt the quality of the vaccine, while men, younger people, inhabitants of the capital, Georgian Dream supporters, and people who name the internet as their main source of information were most likely to believe that we can handle the pandemic without vaccination. 

Additionally, people with secondary or lower education were more likely to be against vaccination in general and attribute alternative goals to it than people with higher education.

For more data on people’s attitudes towards various issues see the CRRC/NDI February 2021 survey dataset on CRRC’s online data analysis tool.


Tuesday, April 06, 2021

Drug prices as big a concern as COVID-19 for Georgians

Note: This article was first published on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint production of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. The article was written by Avto Dolidze, a Junior Fellow at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in this article represent the views of the author alone, and do not necessarily represent the views of CRRC Georgia, NDI, or any related entity

While Georgia’s healthcare system has faced significant challenges as a result of the pandemic, just under half of Georgians consider an issue related to COVID-19 to be among the main challenges facing the country’s healthcare system with medicine prices remaining a big worry, polling suggests. 

In the December 2020 NDI and CRRC Georgia survey, respondents were asked what the largest issue facing the healthcare system was. They were allowed to name up to three issues. The most commonly named issues were the cost of medicine (46%), access to hospitals due to COVID-19 issues (16%), and other COVID-19 related issues (25%).

When grouped by whether or not someone mentioned an issue directly related to COVID-19, the data suggest that half the public thinks issues unrelated to COVID-19 are the main issues facing the healthcare system. 

One in five respondents (19%) named only COVID-19 related issues. Almost a third (29%) named at least one COVID-19 related issue, and at least one non-COVID-19 issue. Overall, half of the population (52%) named only issues not directly related to COVID-19.


Note: The responses “Accessibility of hospitals due to COVID-19 issues”, “Accessibility of doctors for COVID-19 issues”, “Accessibility of COVID-19 tests”, and “Other COVID-19 related issues” are considered COVID-19 related issues. The responses “Cost of Medicine”, “Lack of qualification of doctors and medical personal”, “Cost of Medical care/doctor’s visits”, “Availability of hospitals and healthcare services”, “Bureaucracy of the healthcare system”, “Cost of medical supplies”, “Poor quality medicine”, “Poor hospital infrastructure and equipment”, and “Bad sanitary conditions in hospital and clinics” are not counted as COVID-19 related issues. 

There were few significant predictors of whether or not someone thinks COVID-19 is among the healthcare system’s main issues. Women and men, people in cities and villages, people in relatively wealthy and poor households, and those with higher and lower education levels were similarly more or less likely to name at least one COVID-19 related issue. However, attitudes did vary by age and ethnicity. 

Older people were more likely to be concerned about issues not related to COVID-19 than younger people, who, in turn, were more likely to be concerned about both COVID-19 and non-related issues. 

This may be unsurprising, as past analyses have shown that even though the cost of medicine is the biggest issue for all age groups, older people are particularly concerned about drug prices. Ethnic minorities were less likely to mention COVID-19 related issues than ethnic Georgians.

Note: The above chart used a multinomial regression model. The model controlled for age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), sex (female, male), settlement type (Capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, higher than secondary), ethnicity (Georgian, ethnic minority), and a simple additive index of durable goods owned by the respondent’s household, a common proxy for wealth. 

While COVID-19 is straining healthcare systems around the world, including in Georgia, half the public do not consider it among the largest issues facing the healthcare system in the country. Older people in particular are more concerned about the cost of medicine. 

The data used in this article is available here.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Georgia among worst in the world for vaccine hesitancy

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint OC Media and CRRC Georgia effort. The article was written by Dr. David Sichinava, Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in the article represent the views of the authors’ alone and do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity. 

Scientists agree that global mass immunisation against COVID-19 is the only pathway to putting the virus under control. Yet, the World Health Organisation has argued that actually getting people to take vaccines is ‘an unprecedented challenge’, which might undermine mass immunisation efforts. 

New data suggests that the Georgian public is among the least interested in getting a vaccine globally, given available data. 

On the January 2021 Omnibus survey, CRRC Georgia asked respondents whether they wanted to be vaccinated against COVID-19 if a safe and effective vaccine was available tomorrow. While half the public (48%) said yes, half were against being vaccinated (40%) or uncertain (12%). 

Since this poll was conducted, the government has expanded those eligible to be vaccinated to include the general public over the age of 65, after take-up among medical workers was low. 

Vaccination efforts encountered a significant challenge when a nurse who was promoting vaccination passed away as a result of an allergic reaction to the vaccine itself. 

More recent polling from February, which was collected prior to the above described events, has shown an even lower share of the public wants to be vaccinated (35%). 

With this context in mind, how does Georgia fare globally in terms of vaccine acceptance? CRRC data puts the country near the bottom in the global league table of countries where polling data on vaccine hesitancy is available. 

Georgians are on par with the populations of the Philippines, France, and Russia regarding openness to getting vaccinated.



How do different groups of Georgians compare in terms of vaccine hesitancy? 

More women than men are hesitant about getting a COVID-19 jab. About half of Georgian men (52%) said that they would get vaccinated compared to 45% of women. Forty-three percent of women said they would not get inoculated, with only 37% of men saying they would not. 

Georgians with a higher education (53%) are eight percentage points more likely to want a vaccine than those without (46%). 

There is a notable partisan split when it comes to openness to vaccination. While most supporters of both the Georgian Dream and opposition parties want a vaccine, more Georgian Dream supporters (62%) said that they will vaccinate than opposition supporters (52%). Georgian Dream supporters were less likely to say that they would not vaccinate (27%) than supporters of other political parties (41%). Importantly, non-partisans were more likely to say that they would not vaccinate (46%) than vaccinate (41%).

Further analysis of the data shows that vaccine hesitancy is also related to other attitudes. For instance, more than half (54%) of those who believe that COVID-19 is a real threat (three-quarters of Georgians) would vaccinate. Those that think the danger of COVID-19 is exaggerated (19% of the total population) are more likely to refuse a vaccine. Only about 25% of such respondents would get a COVID-19 jab, while 66% would refuse to be inoculated.

How do those who refuse to be vaccinated or are uncertain explain their attitudes? Most (55%) respondents said that they do not trust vaccines. Seventeen percent said that they do not need a vaccine. About 10% were afraid of vaccination, and 5% said they are anxious about the vaccines’ potential side effects. Two percent named other reasons, while 11% were unsure. 

Notably, opposition supporters are almost twice as likely to say that they do not trust vaccines (72%) than those that identify with Georgian Dream (38%). While this finding should be taken with caution due to the small sample size, the differences are still suggestive.

Georgia’s vaccine hesitancy problem might partially stem from misinformation. An earlier analysis showed that almost the entire population believed in false facts about vaccines, such as jabs causing autism, that they negatively affect children’s development, or harm the human immune system.

Another reason for such hesitancy could be political. As vaccine reluctance in Georgia correlates to political feelings, further calls for division along partisan lines might well undermine the public’s trust in the process of mass immunisation. 

Instead, politicians should bear in mind an acute public health emergency, set aside political differences, and endorse a consensus about vaccination.

The data used in this article is available here. Replication code for the above analysis is available here.

The analysis above is based on series of multinomial regression models predicting vaccine hesitancy. Demographic controls include gender, age, settlement type, employment status, ethnicity, education, assets index, internet usage, experience of been infected by COVID-19, attendance of religious services and presence of children in the household. Attitudinal predictors control for party affiliation, trust in the government’s ability to deal with the COVID-19 situation, perception whether COVID-19 is a real threat, and optimism regarding COVID-19 situation.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

How do Georgians assess the parties involved in the Nagorno-Karabakh war?

This article first appeared at the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of OC Media and CRRC Georgia. This article was written by Nino Zubashvili, a Researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in the article are the author’s alone and do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, or any related entity.  

While polling suggests that 26% of Georgia’s population had not heard of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh last autumn, for those who had, opinions were difficult to gage. So how did Georgians view the roles of the belligerents, outside actors, and indeed their own country?

In December 2020, shortly after the end of military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh, 74% of Georgians reported they had heard of the conflict that had raged there only a month prior. Among those that were aware of the conflict, the data indicate that assessing the parties directly or indirectly involved in the conflict was quite difficult. 

While Georgia’s role is assessed most positively, the roles Russia and Armenia played in the conflict seem to be viewed most negatively. In this regard, the data might reflect Georgian society’s views of its own unresolved conflicts.

Besides the belligerents to the conflict, a number of states and multilateral organisations were involved in the conflict and its resolution, including Turkey, Russia, France, the US, and the EU, among others. 

During the war, both Azerbaijani and Armenian forces were reported to have violated international humanitarian laws and the laws of war, resulting in civilian casualties and abuses of prisoners of war. 

Turkey was an open and strong supporter of Azerbaijan, while Russia, France, and the United States were involved in the ceasefire negotiations. Russia has since deployed peacekeepers in the post-conflict area to oversee the ceasefire. A joint Russian-Turkish ceasefire monitoring centre based in Azerbaijan, outside of the zone of conflict, has also been opened.  

Although Georgia remained officially neutral throughout the war and offered to facilitate dialogue, there was a great deal of disinformation regarding Georgia’s position in both Armenian and Azerbaijani media. Meanwhile, the EU expressed concern over the fighting and allocated millions in emergency aid for civilians affected by conflict, but did not play a significant diplomatic role.

While this is the backdrop in which Georgians were asked their views of the different parties involved in the conflict, it does not mean that respondents were aware of it when surveyed. Indeed, a large share of those that were aware of the conflict found it difficult to positively or negatively assess the roles of each group asked about, with between 41% and 69% unable to assess each of the actors they were asked about either positively or negatively. 

People were particularly uncertain about how to evaluate France, the US, and the EU.

Those aware of the conflict were most positive about Georgia (44%). A regression model suggests that the assessment of Georgia’s role in the conflict does not vary significantly across different groups in society. 

The next most positively assessed party was the Azerbaijani authorities (33%). While there were no significant differences across different demographic groups here either, those who distrust the media were least likely to positively assess Azerbaijan’s role. Those neutral in their trust of the media were 15 points more likely (57%), and those who trust the media were 24 points more likely (66%) to report a positive view of Azerbaijan’s role.

A quarter of those aware of the conflict assessed the role of the EU positively, and around a fifth assessed the role of Turkey, the US, and France positively.


The roles of Russia and the Armenian authorities were assessed most negatively, followed by Turkey and the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities. 

While no differences were found in the assessment of the Armenian authorities across different groups in society, the assessment of Russia was associated with respondents’ ethnicity. Ethnic Georgians were 25 percentage points less likely to assess Russia’s role positively compared to ethnic minorities, including both ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis.

Although the reasons behind people’s views of the parties to the conflict require further research, more positive assessments of Azerbaijan might be linked to the territorial integrity issues that Georgia itself faces. 

Back in 2013, when asked about a possible solution to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, slightly less than half of Georgians who reported they had heard about the conflict either could not answer the questions about the future status of the territory or refused to answer the questions. Of those who did answer, more were in favor of having it as a formal part of Azerbaijan rather than of Armenia.

The data shows that although the assessment of parties involved in the recent conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh varies, an important share of the public is unable to make any assessment. 

For those who could make assessments, Georgia’s role was seen most positively, while Russia’s role was seen negatively. Azerbaijani authorities were assessed around three times more positively than the authorities of Armenia. 

The data used in the article can be found on CRRC’s online data analysis tool

The analysis of whether the roles of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia and Georgia were assessed positively or negatively was carried out using logistic regression. The regression included the following variables: sex (male or female), age group (18–35, 35–55, 55+), ethnic group (ethnic Georgian or other ethnicity: Armenian, Azerbaijani, or other), settlement type (capital, other urban, rural), educational attainment (secondary or lower education, or higher than secondary education), employment situation (working or not), IDP status (forced to move due to conflicts since 1989 or not), frequency of internet use (every day, less often, never), trust in media (distrust, neither trust nor distrust, trust).

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

War in Nagorno-Karabakh went unnoticed for a quarter of Georgians

Note: This article first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Nino Zubashvili, a researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in the article are the author’s alone and do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.

The recent war in Nagorno-Karabakh resulted in thousands of deaths and the displacement of tens of thousands. Yet despite there being a brutal war near its borders, many in Georgia were unaware of the conflict.

Data from the Caucasus Barometer survey indicate that awareness of the conflict’s existence increased shortly after the war in 2020 compared to 2013, but only slightly. In 2013, when the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was ‘frozen’, 66% of Georgians reported they had heard of it. Around a third of the population was not aware of it. In December of 2020, shortly after the 44-day long war, 74% of Georgians reported they had heard of it.  A whole quarter (26%) of the population, meanwhile, was not aware of military operations between the country’s two direct neighbours. 

A regression model suggests that some groups in Georgian society were more likely to be aware of the conflict than others. Considering Georgia has a large population of ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis, among others, it does not come as a surprise that ethnic minorities are 18 percentage points more likely than ethnic Georgians to be aware of the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, all else being equal.

Controlling for other factors, men were 13 percentage points more likely to have heard about the war compared to women. 

Older people were more likely to be aware of the conflict than younger people. People aged 18-35 were 10 percentage points less likely to have heard of the conflict compared to those aged 35-54, and 13 percentage points less likely compared to older people (55+). 

Access to information is presumably also associated with awareness. Those living in Tbilisi, where access to information is better, were significantly more likely to be aware of the conflict compared to people in other cities and settlements, while no notable differences are found between those living in other cities and rural areas. Similarly, people with higher education were more likely to be aware of the conflict than those with secondary or lower education. Regular internet users were six percentage points more likely to have heard of the conflict, all else equal, compared to irregular users. 

Employment status, being displaced due to previous conflicts in the region, and general trust in the media were also analysed, but do not show statistically significant differences. 

Despite a war raging near its borders, a quarter of the Georgian public was unaware of it. An indirect link of awareness with access to information appears to be present in the data and a number of other variables were also significant predictors of awareness, but the reasons behind their significance require further research.

The data used in the article can be found on CRRC’s online data analysis tool. The analysis of which groups were aware or not aware of the war was carried out using logistic regression. The regression included the following variables: sex (male or female), age group (18–35, 35–55, 55+), ethnic group (ethnic Georgian or other ethnicity), settlement type (capital, other urban, rural), educational attainment (secondary or lower education, or higher than secondary education), employment situation (working or not), IDP status (forced to move due to conflicts since 1989 or not), frequency of internet use (every day, less often, never), trust in media (distrust, neither trust nor distrust, trust).


Wednesday, March 10, 2021

What predicts job satisfaction in Georgia?

This article was published on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Makhare Atchaidze, a researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in this article do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity. 

Unemployment remains one of the most frequently cited concerns among Georgians. But how satisfied with their jobs are those who are employed?

Public opinion polling consistently shows that the most important issue facing the country is unemployment. While official data suggests an unemployment rate of around 17%, Caucasus barometer survey data suggests that only 40% consider themselves employed. 

While unemployment is clearly an issue, a secondary point is the quality of jobs available: a third of the unemployed (36%) reported that they do not work because available jobs do not pay enough, and 61% reported that suitable work is hard to find on a 2018 survey.

The results of the 2019 Caucasus Barometer survey suggest that people who are working tend to be moderately satisfied. Half (47%) of those who considered themselves employed or self-employed (37%) reported they were moderately satisfied with their work. By comparison, 37% of people expressed a positive attitude towards their job and 16% a negative attitude.

Women were nine percentage points more likely than men to report being satisfied with their job. 

People with tertiary education were 17 percentage points more likely to be satisfied with their job than those that have vocational education and 11 points more satisfied than those that have a high school degree or less. 

There were no significant differences between people of different ages, marital status and ethnicities or between settlement types in terms of satisfaction. 

Aside from demographics, job satisfaction is also correlated with income, employment sector, and knowledge of English. 

People with lower incomes tend to be less satisfied. Those whose personal monthly incomes were between $51–$100 were less likely to be satisfied with their jobs than those whose income was more than $101. The data shows that dissatisfaction is almost three times less likely when income exceeds $101. 

People who work in the public sector (including international organisations and NGOs) tend to be more satisfied with their jobs (58%), than those who work in the private sector (34%). 

The data indicated that people who likely have higher skill jobs tend to be more satisfied with their work. 

Having a higher level of knowledge of English was associated with greater job satisfaction, while higher-level computer skills were not. This is despite a strong correlation of around 50% between computer skills and English language knowledge.

Note: In some cases in the above, figures may not sum to 100%. This is due to rounding error.

The above data suggests that women and people with more education were more likely to report being satisfied with their jobs. This was also true of people working in the public sector and those with higher levels of English language knowledge. 

This suggests that those in higher-skilled jobs were more satisfied though not always, as the data on computer skills shows. 

The data used in this article is available here. Replication code for the above analysis is available here.


Thursday, March 04, 2021

UNM supporters are especially pessimistic about their economic future

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.

The survey, conducted in December 2020, shows that people’s expectations of their financial futures tend towards pessimism and uncertainty. Only around 1 in 10 Georgians said they expected their family to be better off financially in one year’s time; 29% said they would be in the same situation financially and 37% said that they would be worse off. 

Around a quarter of people said they were uncertain of what their financial situation will be like in one year’s time. 

Analysis of the data showed differences in people’s attitudes depending on their age, and party affiliation. There were no significant differences between people of different sexes, settlement types, education levels, employment statuses, or economic situations.

Unsurprisingly, people who had a household member start a new job during the last 12 months were more optimistic, while those who reported a household member losing a job were pessimistic. 

People aged 35–54 were 1.3 times more likely to say that their household would be worse off in a year’s time compared to younger people and those over 55. 

Note: This chart was generated from a regression model. The model includes sex (male, female), age group (18–34, 35–54, 55+), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), education (secondary or lower, secondary technical, tertiary), party support (No party, Georgian Dream, refuse to answer, don’t know, UNM and other), employment status (employed, not employed), household member starting a job in the last 12 months (yes, no), household member losing a job in the last 12 months (yes, no), and an additive index of ownership of different items, a common proxy for wealth.

The data showed that supporters of the United National Movement (UNM) were significantly more pessimistic about their future financial situation than supporters of other parties. 

People who named the UNM as the party closest to them were 1.9 times more likely to have negative expectations than those who preferred Georgian Dream. 

In general, UNM supporters were also more likely to report losing a job than people who supported other parties

Nevertheless, the link between party support and financial expectations holds whether or not someone in the household lost a job or not. 

For all other party supporters, people whose household member lost a job were more pessimistic, than those who did not lose a job. UNM supporters were pessimistic regardless of whether a family member lost a job or not.

Note: The chart shows those who answered ‘worse off’ only. 

The data showed that more than a third of Georgians were expecting their financial situation to be worse in one years’ time. Around a quarter were uncertain of the near future. 

Expectations were worse for people aged 35–54 years old, those whose family members had lost a job during the last 12 months, and UNM supporters.

For more data on people’s attitudes towards various issues see the Caucasus Barometer 2020 dataset on CRRC’s online data analysis tool. The views expressed in the article are the author’s alone, and do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any related entity.

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Who thinks Georgia handled the pandemic successfully?

[Note: This post first appeared on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of OC Media and CRRC Georgia. The article was written by Givi Silagadze, a researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views presented in the article reflect the author's alone and do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.]

Prior to the most recent episode in Georgia's political crises, COVID-19 was the country's main concern. Yet, data on how the public views the country's handling of the crisis shows a stark partisan divide.

It has been a year since the first case of coronavirus was detected in Georgia. Since then, over 260,000 cases have been confirmed, over 3,300 fatalities, and the economy has suffered the largest decline since 1994. In light of this, how does the Georgian public assess the country’s handling of the pandemic? 

Data from the 2020 Caucasus Barometer survey offers a snapshot of how well people think the country did in dealing with the outbreak. 

The data suggests that there are few differences between demographic groups, but that political division is evident in evaluations of the country’s performance.

A slight majority (56%) reported that Georgia had done a somewhat good job (45%) or a good job (11%); 38% said it had done a bad job.

People’s assessments were associated with several social and demographic variables. 

People with a higher education were 8 percentage points less likely to praise the country’s response than those with a lower level of education. 

People aged 35–55 were 10 percentage points less likely to report that Georgia had done well than younger people (aged 18–35).

Other socio-demographic variables, including IDP status, ethnicity, employment situation, settlement type, sex, wealth, or whether or not someone had tested positive for COVID-19, did not appear to be associated with how well someone rated the country’s performance.

While there were relatively few differences between social and demographic groups, there was a stark partisan divide. 

Georgian Dream supporters were 45 percentage points more likely to report that Georgia had done a somewhat good job or a good job in dealing with the outbreak than supporters of other opposition parties, after controlling for other factors. 

Similarly, Georgian Dream supporters were 27 percentage points more likely to give a positive assessment than those who supported no party in particular.


People who experienced economic hurdles in parallel with the outbreak also assessed the country’s performance differently. 

Those who lost a job in 2020, or had a family/household member lose a job during the past year were significantly (18 percentage points) less likely to evaluate Georgia’s handling of the outbreak positively.

The loss of a job and partisanship also interacted in interesting ways. 

Georgian Dream supporters and those with no clear political preference were significantly less likely to assess the government’s response positively if they or a family member had lost a job.

In contrast, for supporters of opposition parties, there was no significant difference between those who had or had not lost a job in the past 12 months.

All else equal, the data suggests that party identification is strongly associated with people’s assessment of the country’s handling of the outbreak. 

It is impossible to determine with the data at hand if party identification drives the differing assessments of the government’s performance or vice versa. 

In either case, it reaffirms what previous studies have suggested about the political polarization of the Georgian electorate being reflected through divergent assessments of past events and institutions rather than opposing policy alternatives or ideological views. 

This, once again, underscores the necessity of responsible political leadership that would unite rather than divide the nation during crises.

Note: The above data analysis is based on a logistic regression model which included the following variables: age group (18–35, 35–55, 55+), sex (male or female), education (completed secondary/lower or incomplete higher education/higher), settlement type (capital, urban, rural), wealth (an additive index of ownership of 12 different items), did anyone in the household lose a job in the past 12 months, party support (Georgian Dream, refuse to answer, no party/do not know, other parties), did they test positive for COVID-19, ethnic group (ethnic Georgian or other ethnic group), employment situation (working or not), IDP status (forced to move due to conflicts since 1989 or not). The analysis was run with and without attitudinal variables, with substantively similar results. The estimates in this article present the results of the model with attitudinal variables. The data used in the article is available here.


Tuesday, February 16, 2021

More people feel healthy during the pandemic

This article first appeared on the CRRC and OC Media, Caucasus Data Blog. It was written by Kristina Vacharadze, Programs Director at CRRC Georgia, and Dustin Gilbreath, Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.

The pandemic has clearly harmed people’s health, yet new data from the Caucasus Barometer Survey suggests that people considered themselves more healthy in 2020. 

In 2019, 35% of the public evaluated their health as good. In past years, this had shifted up and down to varying extents, however, the largest change was a decline from 41% to 30% between 2013 and 2014. 

In contrast, between 2019 and 2020, the share of people reporting that they were in good health nearly doubled from 35% to 65%.

In light of the pandemic, this leads to the question, why are people so positive about their health? 

One plausible explanation is that people view their own health relative to others, just as people view their material wealth relative to others. Supporting this contention is the fact that after controlling for social and demographic variables like age and sex, individuals that either tested positive or had a family member that tested positive for COVID-19 were 16 percentage points less likely to rate their health as good.

Aside from why people feel they are relatively healthier, the data also shows which groups in society think they have gotten healthier. 

The gains in perceived health were seven percentage points higher for men than women. 

The share of people in the middle age range of 35–54 reporting good health increased by 37 percentage points compared with 28 percentage points for people aged 18–34 and 31 percentage points for people aged 55+. 

People with a vocational education had a 37 percentage point increase in the share reporting good health, compared with a 29 percentage point increase for those with secondary or tertiary education. The increase in reported health did not vary substantially between settlement types.

While there were differences in how much self-perceived health changed in light of the pandemic, the data still suggest that there are differences between groups. 

Men still feel healthier than women. Young people report being healthy more than older people. Those in the capital report feeling healthy more than those in rural areas. Those with a higher education, a common proxy for higher levels of income, report feeling healthier than people without.

The Caucasus Barometer 2020 data is at first perplexing: why would people feel healthier in the middle of a pandemic after all. However, when considering their health relative to those who have had COVID-19, people appear to feel relatively good. 

The data suggests that the increases in perceived health was present across all segments of society. Yet, the data also shows that these increases were not equal among all.

Note: To view the data used in this article, click here. The regression model noted above controls for individuals ethnicity (Georgian or minority), age (18–34, 35–54, 55+), sex (male or female), wealth (proxied by the number of durable goods they own), settlement type (Tbilisi, other urban, rural), education level (secondary, vocational, or tertiary), and whether or not they or their family member tested positive for COVID-19.

The views expressed in this article do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.


Tuesday, February 09, 2021

Do people have enough information about COVID-19 in Georgia?

Note: This article was first published on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint effort of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. The article was written by Tsisana Khundadze, a Senior Researcher at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in the article are the author’s alone, and do not reflect the views of CRRC Georgia, the National Democratic Institute, or any related entity.

Since the pandemic hit Georgia in February, the Georgian government has taken several measures to raise awareness about it. But are the public actually well informed?

Since March 2020, the Georgian Government has been conducting large scale information campaigns through traditional and online media, has launched an informational web portal, StopCov.ge, and has even launched a smartphone app providing information about contact with infected people.

In light of these communications, it is perhaps unsurprising that data from the CRRC-NDI December 2020 survey shows that a majority of Georgia’s population says they have enough information about the services they might need in relation to COVID-19. However, men and those less well off are less likely to know how to access services.

The survey asked respondents if they knew where to get a COVID-19 test, how to get medical assistance, and how to treat COVID-19 at home. 

People were most informed about how to get the medical assistance. Around four in five said if they or a family member needed it, they would know how to treat COVID-19 at home. 

A smaller proportion, though still a majority, reported knowing where to get a free or affordable test for COVID-19. Even so, almost a third of Georgia’s population does not know where to get a test and one in five reports not knowing how to treat COVID-19 at home.

Even though this knowledge is self-reported, it is still important to pay attention to what people feel less informed about as well as who feels less informed. 

A regression model suggests that even though the vast majority knows how to get medical assistance, women, people aged 18–34, and people with tertiary education are slightly more likely to say they know how to get medical assistance than men, people who are 55 or older and people with secondary or lower education. 

The more durable goods a person owns (a proxy for wealth), the more likely that person is to say that they know how to get medical assistance. No differences were observed between people in different settlement types or employment statuses.

The regression model also shows that women and people with tertiary education are more likely to know how to treat COVID-19 at home than men and people with secondary technical, secondary, or lower education. 

The wealthier a person is, the more likely that person is to say that they know how to treat COVID-19 at home. There were no significant differences between people of different ages, settlement types, or employment statuses.

As for knowledge of where to get a COVID-19 test, the regression model suggests that women are more likely than men to say they know where to get a free or affordable test. 

People with tertiary education were 1.3 times more likely to say they know where to get a test compared to people with secondary or lower education.  

Employed people were more likely to say they knew where to get a free or affordable COVID-19 test than people who were not working. As in the case of knowing how to get medical assistance and treat COVID-19 at home, the more household items a person owns, the more likely that person is to say that they know where to get the test. 

Again, there were no differences between people in different age groups or settlement types.



The December 2020 survey data shows that a majority of Georgia’s population reports knowing where to get a COVID-19 test, how to get medical assistance, and how to treat COVID-19 at home. 

People appear least informed about where to get a test done.  

Women and people with better economic situations consistently reported knowing the above mentioned more often than men and people with worse economic situations.

For more data on people’s attitudes towards COVID-19 related issues, see the dataset on CRRC’s online data analysis tool. 


Tuesday, February 02, 2021

Despite gains in 2020, Georgia’s institutions remain poorly trusted

Note: This article was published on the Caucasus Data Blog, a joint publication of CRRC Georgia and OC Media. It was written by Dustin Gilbreath, Deputy Research Director at CRRC Georgia. The views expressed in this article do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.

The newly released 2020 Georgia Caucasus Barometer shows that trust in most institutions rose significantly since the start of the pandemic, but some institutions gained more than others.

This shows that the rallying around the flag effect, previously demonstrated for people’s assessments of the performance of institutions in the spring of 2020, has also led to large increases in trust towards them.

In December 2020, when the survey was conducted, religious institutions and the army were the most trusted institutions in the country. By contrast, political parties had the least amount of trust, followed by a large number of institutions that 25%–30% of people reported trusting.


While these levels of trust are not particularly high for most institutions, on average they were still 10 percentage points higher than the previous year. No institution saw a decline in trust. 

For seven of the fourteen institutions asked about, there was a double-digit increase in the share of the population trusting them. The executive government experienced the strongest gain of 19 percentage points compared to 2019. 

The media, the healthcare system, religious institutions, local government, political parties, and parliament also all experienced large gains in trust. By comparison, NGOs and banks did not gain a significant amount of trust during the pandemic.


Even though there has been an almost universal rise in trust in Georgia’s institutions, the country is still behind where it was in terms of institutional trust compared to 2008, the first year for which comparable data is available.

Trust is up in political parties, the executive government, and the army compared to the 2008 baseline. It has not changed significantly for local government, the police, the courts, or religious institutions. It has declined for the president, banks, the media, NGOs, parliament, the education system, and even the healthcare system. 

While the pandemic, and the largely effective institutional responses to it, likely explains the rise in trust in institutions between 2019 and 2020, trust in most of them remains low. 

Indeed, despite the gains in trust in 2020, most institutions are still less trusted than they were in 2008.

The data used in this article is available here.


Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Are Georgia's risk-loving men to blame for the spread of COVID-19?

Note: This article was published in partnership with OC Media on the Caucasus Data Blog.  This article was written by Dr. Koba Turmanidze, Director of CRRC Georgia. The views presented in the article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of CRRC Georgia or any related entity.

Popular sayings often associate risk-taking with hefty payoffs. Perhaps the most widely used proverb about the subject in the region suggests that if you don’t take risks, you don’t get to drink champagne. 

While risky people may enjoy a glass of champagne someday, this article argues that a love of risk, especially among Georgian men, also threatens society’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.   

CRRC’s June 2020 COVID-19 Monitor survey shows that half the Georgian public are risk-tolerant (51%), 41% dislike taking risks, and 8% do not have an opinion. A regression analysis suggests that risk tolerance does not vary across several respondent characteristics such as age group, education level, type of settlement, or household economic conditions. However, risk tolerance is related to gender and employment status, controlling for the characteristics previously listed. Men are 18 percentage points more likely to be risk-tolerant than women. Moreover, employed and unemployed people are about 15 percentage points more likely to accept risk-taking than people who are not in the active labour force. 

When it comes to potentially risky behaviour in the pandemic, during the week prior to the survey, 52% reported they had spent time with people outside of their household, 33% said they socialized at someone’s house, and 19% appear to have used public transport. Respondents’ answers on these three questions are summarized in a variable measuring risky behaviour, which takes the value of one if the respondent reports any of the three actions and a zero if the respondent reports none. 

A regression analysis was conducted that relates risky behaviour to risk tolerance, controlling for respondents’ demographic characteristics. The analysis indicates a significant relation between risk tolerance and risky behaviour: risk-tolerant people are eight percentage points more likely to engage in at least one of the above noted risky actions. Gender and age are also relevant for risk-taking: men are nine percentage points more likely to engage in risky actions than women. Also, older people (55+) are 18 percentage points less likely to behave in a risky way compared to people belonging to the age group between 18 and 34.

Since gender is related to both risk tolerance and risky behaviour, further analysis looks at how risk tolerance predicts risky behaviour for women and men separately. 

The analysis suggests that risk tolerance and age predict men’s engagement in risky activities. Risk tolerant men are 15 percentage points more likely to engage in risky actions compared to risk-averse men. Likewise, younger men (18 to 34) are 11 percentage points more inclined to risky behaviour than men belonging to the 35 to 54 age group and 26 percentage points more likely than the group 55 and older. 

For women, risky behaviour is associated with employment status and settlement type. Importantly, risk tolerance is not associated with engaging in risky behaviour among women. Employed women are more likely to take risky actions than the unemployed (by 16 percentage points), and women outside of the active labour force (by 20 percentage points). Also, women in Tbilisi are 13 percentage points more likely to take risks than residents of other urban areas.


While popular culture valorizes risk tolerance, in the current pandemic, risk-loving men have higher levels of social contact and higher mobility, helping the virus spread.            

The data used in this blog article is available here.