The 2nd panel of GIP’s annual conference GEODEM2021 will take place on 2 June

In May-June, 2021 GIP is hosting the 6th edition of its traditional annual Democracy Conference #GEODEM2021. Due to the pandemic, the conference is being conducted online presenting 3 different thematic panels.

The 2nd panel of the conference will take place on 2 June at 17:00 with the main theme Polling Wars in Georgia: How to Ensure Trust?

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Polling plays a crucial role in democracies. It is a tool that helps guide policy by informing decision-makers about the preferences of the public and gives media a unique opportunity to track dynamics of important public opinion trends. During the last year, the Georgian public has been repeatedly exposed to the results of various opinion polls and election exit polls. Results of these polls have been causing a great deal of confusion as there were substantial divergences between them in terms of party ratings during the pre-election period as well as support each party received in the elections. Seemingly, this ideally objective sociological tool has been instrumentalized politically. Furthermore, politicians from the ruling party as well as from the opposition have been voicing discrediting statements with regards to those polls that do not benefit them politically. Considering the hitherto low levels of general public trust and the increasingly nihilistic electorate, this trend further exacerbates the gap between the public and institutions which constitute a necessary condition of functioning democracy.

The second panel will address the following questions:

  • Why polling matters? whom do polls serve?
  • What can be done to ensure that trust towards exit polls is not undermined?
  • Given how public opinion and exit polls tend to be politicized, how can Georgian voters make sense of differing pictures they portray?
  • To what extent can ongoing attempts from politicians to discredit polling organizations undermine the role that non-partisan polling plays in Georgia’s democratic development?
  • How can be a politicization of the polling process be avoided?

 

Moderator: Adam Schmidt, Director, Democracy, Governance & Social Development, USAID Georgia

Opening remarks:

  • 17:00 – Prof. Kornely Kakachia, Director, Georgian Institute of Politics.

Speakers:

  • 17:05 – John DiPirro, International Republican Institute (IRI)
  • 17:15 – Alan Gillam, National Democratic Institute (NDI)
  • 17:25 – Nino Japaridze, Edison Research
  • 17:35 – Nino Dolidze, International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)
  • 17:45 – Q&A

GIP’s annual Democracy Conference is organized with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).


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