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Forecast for October 14th, 2020

The 2020 Parliamentary polls are at the door, and political campaigns are accelerating. So are our forecasts. Our last series of predictions reflected how Georgians felt about political parties in late August. According to them, the Georgian Dream had impressive chances of winning elections and obtaining a comfortable majority in the parliament. Nonetheless, we also warned that the deteriorating epidemiological situation with COVID-19 would force Georgian Dream’s poll numbers to go south.

Our thoughts were correct: in our fresh simple model that includes opinion polls from September and October, the Georgian Dream’s poll numbers are below 50%. While the ruling party still leads the race with 47%, it is 6-point less than the situation one month ago. The same model shows that the United National Movement still maintains its title of the strongest oppositional party. Their poll numbers increased by three percentage points compared to our late August/early September model. Other oppositional parties also improved their poll numbers, except for the Alliance of Patriots of Georgia.

How did political ratings change over time? Our retrospective analysis of aggregated poll data hints that after the 2016 parliamentary elections, the Georgian Dream managed to maintain decent ratings and, on average, polled above 50%. Although their support gradually dwindled and reached its minimum in summer 2019. After the infamous Gavrilov’s Night, the government and other oppositional parties’ gap closed to its historical minimum. The situation altered since Spring 2020 when Georgian Dream’s poll numbers grew again and reached the 2016 levels. As we have argued previously, improved ratings were primarily driven by the positive public perception of how state institutions managed the first COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020. As the number of COVID-19 cases started growing exponentially since early September, support for the Georgian Dream diminished.

According to our Bayesian model, chances the Georgian Dream has a relatively slim (27%) chance of receiving more than half of the proportional elections votes. Our simulations show that the most expected outcome of proportional polls would be that the Georgian Dream polls around 47%. As this would garner only fifty-six seats in the parliament, races in single-member (majoritarian) districts will be decisive. As the Georgian Dream is almost guaranteed to overcome the 40% “closing” threshold, they would aim to win at least twenty majoritarian seats to have a simple majority (76 MPs) in the parliament. Considering the current situation, this seems rather achievable.

None of the other parties poll enough to defeat the Georgian Dream single-handedly. Simulations show that it is almost impossible for them to overcome the closing 40% threshold too. Considering the low electoral threshold, all parties presented in the table below have decent chances of being represented in the new parliament. Despite this, only European Georgian and Strategy Aghmashenebeli seem to poll high enough for garnering six parliamentary seats necessary for an independent parliamentary faction.

As it stands and given that no dramatic changes occur until the election day, the Georgian Dream is expected to win the plurality of votes. Though the main intrigue will rest on single-member district races. Unfortunately, as poll data on majoritarian races are very scant, we cannot provide predictions. Another issue to watch is which party Georgian Dream decides to partner with if it fails to win enough majoritarian seats necessary for a simple majority.

The methodology behind these predictions is available here. The replication code and dataset used above is available via Github.

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About

Pollster.ge is an independent, non-commercial, non-partisan project that aims at collecting, systematizing, and processing open-access polling data in Georgia.The project is an independent initiative and is by no means linked to any of our employers. Election forecasts are based on statistical modeling of raw data through transparent methodology. Authors are not responsible for the quality of the raw data.