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Key Findings From Georgians and Russians

Key Findings From Georgians and Russians

by Neli Esipova and Ian T. Brown

*New entries are noted in bold

On Politics and Policy

  • The vast majority of Russians believe the government should prohibit foreign companies from buying big Russian ones, a sentiment that has held fairly constant between 2006 and 2008 (reaffirming Putin's legislation that restricted foreign investment in Russia).
  • Less than half of Georgians (47%) say their national leadership is headed in the right direction, compared to nearly two-thirds (63%) of Russians.
  • Nearly two-thirds of Georgians surveyed in June 2008 said they were in favor of maintaining good relations with Russia by all means, up 5% from 2007 and 11% from 2006.

On Everyday Life

  • Between 2006 and 2007, Georgians and Russians maintained among the lowest confidence in elections across the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries. Following presidential elections in both countries in 2008, there was a positive change in attitudes (January 5, 2008, in Georgia and March 2, 2008, in Russia).
  • When asked to rate their lives on the Cantril Self-Anchoring Striving Scale with steps numbered from 0 to 10, where "0" indicates the worst possible life and "10" the best possible life, Georgia's score is the lowest (mean score of 3.7) among all CIS populations surveyed. However, Georgia's score increased from 2007 to 2008.
  • For all CIS countries polled in 2007, Georgia had the highest number of respondents who said they or their family had gone hungry in the last 12 months. Results stayed largely unchanged between 2006 and 2008 for Georgian respondents when asked if they or their family had gone hungry in the last 12 months.

On Their Country

  • Among CIS countries, Russians have among the lowest percentages of respondents who say the creation of a free market economy is right for the country's future, and attitudes have not changed significantly between 2006 and 2008.
  • When asked about the job situation in the city or area where they live, Georgians had the most negative opinion among all CIS countries. However, between 2007 and 2008, Georgian attitudes improved dramatically regarding the job situation in their city or area.
  • In 2008, one-third of Georgian respondents said they were satisfied with efforts to deal with the poor in their country. This represents a roughly 10% increase over the previous two years.

On Russia and the West

  • The majority of Russian and Ukrainian respondents perceive NATO as a threat to their country, while the majority of Georgians see it as protection.
  • When asked their opinion on the job performance of international leadership, Georgian respondents were more likely to approve of European Union (EU) leadership than the leadership of Russia.
  • Georgian respondents gave comparable approval ratings to the leadership of several countries within the EU, including the United Kingdom (35%), Germany (32%), and France (30%).
  • Georgian approval ratings of foreign leadership are consistently higher for Western nations (including the United States) than for neighboring Russia.

On the CIS

  • When asked to choose among CIS countries, Russian respondents value most a close relationships with Slavic countries (Belarus and Ukraine).
  • When asked their opinion on the ideal relationship between CIS countries, the majority of Georgians say they prefer to have tighter relations with CIS countries than to remain independent. However, the percentage of respondents that say they prefer independence has increased between 2006 and 2008.
  • Gallup polled in Georgia in June 2008, before the conflict with Russia began. Attitudes have likely changed as a result of the current situation.
  • When given a choice between all CIS countries, the vast majority of Georgian respondents (57%) say their country should maintain the closest relationship with Russia. Ukraine came in second with only 13%.

Survey Methods

Results are based on face-to-face interviews with at least 491 adults, aged 15 and older, conducted between 2006 and 2008. Gallup most recently polled in Russia in April-May 2008 and in Georgia in June 2008. For security reasons, Gallup did not poll in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of error attributable to sampling, weighting, and other random effects is ±3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

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