WiP: Understanding political polarization in Georgia

CRRC, ARISC and American Councils are proud to present the 5th talk of the Fall 2019 Works-in-Progress Series!

“Understanding political polarization in Georgia”

by Koba Turmanidze, Director of CRRC Georgia &
Dustin Gilbreath, Deputy Research Director of CRRC Georgia

Date: October 30, 2019, at 18:30 pm
Venue: CRRC Georgia, 1 Liziko Kavtaradze st., 0179 Tbilisi, Georgia

Talk about political polarization in Georgia is simple to find. One report went so far as to claim that Georgia was among Europe’s most polarized countries. Yet, few actually test these claims empirically. One necessary but insufficient condition that marks political polarization is divisive partisanship, with society split in support of two parties or ideologies. A second is whether partisanship translates into division over policy preferences in the form of issue partisanship and issue alignment. A third is the existence of partisanship itself. In our research, these three defining characteristics of political polarization are tested for in Georgia, with the data suggesting a lack of polarization. Rather, the only form of division found in attitudes is over politicians, something the public also recognizes. The research in turn argues that this demonstrates the need for institutions, including parties, to replace personalities for Georgia’s long-term political development.

Koba Turmanidze is the Director of CRRC-Georgia. His research focuses on party-voter interactions in hybrid regimes, and experimental political science.

Dustin Gilbreath is the Deputy Research Director at CRRC-Georgia. His work focuses on public policy, political communications, and experimental and quasi-experimental research design for impact evaluation.

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W-i-P is an ongoing academic discussion series based in Tbilisi, Georgia, that takes place at the CRRC office at 5 Chkhikvadze Str. It is co-organized by the Caucasus Research Resource Centers (CRRC), the American Councils for International Education: ACTR/ACCELS, and the American Research Institute of the South Caucasus (ARISC). All of the talks are free and open to the public. The purpose of the W-i-P series is to provide support and productive criticism to those researching and developing academic projects pertaining the Caucasus region.

PRIVACY POLICY: In order to assure the free and open discussion of ideas and sensitive issues, unless otherwise specified the WiP series holds to the Chatham House Rule: participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed, without the explicit permission of said speaker(s) or participant(s) in the press or other public media. Journalists may attend the sessions, but the contents are not for publication or broadcast without the explicit permission of the speaker(s). This is to enable all involved to openly discuss their views in private while allowing the topic and nature of the debate to be made public and contribute to the broader scholarly and academic conversation.