|Saakashvili’s Popularity Rises Amid Georgia Protest, Poll Shows|
|May 21, 2009|
By Helena Bedwell
Protest rallies in Georgia, held daily in the capital Tbilisi since April 9, have increased the
Saakashvili’s job approval rating rose to 65 percent in the poll, up 2 percentage points from March, before the demonstrations began. The survey of 1,200 Georgians was conducted May 1-9 by Washington-based research firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner. It had a margin of error of 3 percentage points.
The opposition has called for Saakashvili’s resignation and new elections. They blame him for Georgia’s defeat in a war with Russia last August over the separatist region of South Ossetia that caused about $1 billion in damage to the economy, and say he has clamped down on democracy and freedom of speech.
Forty-five percent of respondents said replacing Saakashvili with someone new would “most likely worsen” the situation in Georgia, while 29 percent said his ouster would bring improvement.
“These poll numbers are just more evidence of expensive propaganda,” Salome Zurabishvili, a former foreign minister who is now an opposition leader, said in an interview. “I wouldn’t give Saakashvili more than 10 percent in the capital. It’s clear the government isn’t functioning. The only things they can do are propaganda and repression.
The opposition applied to Tbilisi authorities for permission to extend the rallies for another month, Zurabishvili said.
Editors: Patrick G. Henry, Alan Crosby
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