Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apologies | Site Maintenance

We have had some problems with the HTML in rendering paragraph breaks -- apologies if this has put multiple posts into your RSS feeds. The problem is that Blogger introduces some unusual breaks when we paste text into the online interface. We've tried cleaning all the HTML out, but this doesn't seem to be doing the trick quite yet, so we were experimenting. We hope that this is fixed now.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Who is Russia's Enemy? | Pew Research Center Data

You will have seen that we are much intrigued by the Pew Research Centers. They do surveys on global attitudes, and increasingly we are trying to make some of our questions cohere with their efforts, so that we have a more telling international comparison. (This isn't always easy, since replicating their question may go at the expense of continuity of our old questions.) 

Unfortunately they do not cover Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. But studying their long report closely (which is fascinating), we nevertheless stumbled on a reference to the Caucasus. 

Do Russians think they have an enemy in the world?

There are a lot of people that say yes, but also a lot of people say they don't know, or refuse to answer. So less than a third of Russians are certain that they are not beleagured by enemies of Russia that are lurking out there.

And who are the enemies? Those that said that there are enemies of Russia were asked to specify.

Note: this does not mean that 43% above Russians consider Georgia an enemy, it's 43% of the 57% that said Russia has enemies, so closer to 25% total. Still, this is a stunning number. You might think, for example, that China was more on the mind of Russians. But tiny Georgia is right up there with the United States. 

In other parts of the survey 49% of Americans say they have a favorable view of Russia, and 57% of Russians say they have a favorable view of the United States.

The Global Attitudes Project has much more interesting information, which you can read here. Our previous posts on Russian attidues in 2008 here, and 2009 here. We wrote a short piece on Georgian attitudes here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Survey Snippet | WorldCup

Looking at the recent data from the Global Attitudes Project of the Pew Research Center, we came across a curious survey item. Who do people across the world think will win the World Cup?

Look at the table and you will see that you either think your own country will win -- or it is Brazil. And this is pretty consistent throughout the world. It's funny both how people project into their own countries, and then how beyond that the concept of soccer seems to be tied up with Brazil.

Even if you're not interested in soccer, it tells you something about how surveys work. Arguably, it is because Brazil stands out as the premier soccer country, because hardly anyone begrudges the Brazilians for winning, and because not a lot of other concepts travel along when you think about Brazil.

Does begrudging matter? It may well: it's the Argentinians and the Spaniards who were least likely in relative terms to put the Brazilians first. And it is the South Koreans and the Chinese who put Brazil first, suggesting that distance may play a role. 

Note that the Brazilians also have the highest opinions of themselves, followed by the Spanish, the Argentinians, and the Germans. (Maybe the tendency to believe that your own team will win is the same mechanism that contributes to countries sliding into war, as identification morphs into prediction of success.) 

At the same time it's curious how many people say they don't know or refused to answer. We know that in the United States soccer is not that popular. But what happened in Poland and Turkey? And in Pakistan? 

Once you look through the other survey results, you see that Pakistan had some of the highest rates of people who said they don't know, or refused to answer. (On soccer, the French were the most opinionated.) It's following these threads that makes reading survey results exciting. The Pew Research Centers have done an excellent job at making information available (their detailed report here), allowing us to trawl through their results. Future updates soon.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Greatest Threats Facing the World | Data from the 2009 CB & the Global Attitudes Survey

By Jesse Tatum and Vazha Burduli

From environmental catastrophe to violence, our world currently faces serious challenges with long-term consequences. In this context, what do people in the Caucasus consider to be the most acute problems?

Regarding the greatest threats to the world today, the spread of nuclear weapons and poverty are foremost on the minds of people in the South Caucasus, according to the 2009 CB.

The CB asked respondents to choose from a list of six dangers which one they believe poses the greatest threat to the world. In Georgia and Azerbaijan, the spread of nuclear weapons topped the list, with 44 percent and 36 percent, respectively. Meanwhile, in Armenia, poverty was chosen first, with 35 percent, just edging out the threat of the spread of nuclear weapons. Curiously, more people in Azerbaijan seemed to worry about AIDS and infectious diseases -- something still to look into.

The 47-Nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey, which also asks people which threats currently pose the greatest risk to our world, found that pollution and environmental problems are increasingly taking over the top spots as the most pressing world dangers. (Note that CRRC's question was phrased slightly differently, and offered another option.)

Compared with the Global Attitude Survey's results, people in the South Caucasus are less concerned with pollution and environmental problems than in other parts of the world, especially Sweden, Canada and East Asia (China, S. Korea and Japan).

The amount of data available between the two surveys is extensive indeed. We hope you will check out Pew's report, and then compare other figures with our CB in order to see where South Caucasian's world views fit into the international context. In the future, we plan to post more comparisons of this sort.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Language Learning in Georgia

In winter 2008, CRRC together with the American Councils conducted some research on the ways foreigners learn languages in Georgia. Hans Gutbrod and Malte Viefhues have recently published a paper in CRIA, analyzing the results and providing interesting insights into incentives to language learning and the importance of Georgian and Russian for foreigners in the country.

The data indicates that while Georgian is very important for living in Georgia, Russian is more useful in a professional context. This could explain why, on average, the respondents – many of whom have worked in different CIS countries – have a better level in Russian than in Georgian. As these languages serve in different domains, knowing one did not keep the respondents from learning the other: 87 percent of the respondents with Russian skills know some Georgian as well.

To read the full paper, visit the CRIA's website.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Demographic statistics in Georgia | Results from international research

On June 1, the Georgian Center for Population Research (GCPR) and the French National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED), with support from the French Embassy in Georgia, held a seminar on mortality- and fertility-related issues in Georgia. Irina Badurashvili from GCPR and France Meslé, Jacques Vallin and Geraldine Duthé from INED presented the results of their collaborative research dealing with mortality trends and increased male sex ratio at birth.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union and ensuing violent conflicts, Georgia experienced an increase in migration and a deterioration of the civil registration system. Consequently, yearly population counts produced by the Georgian Department for Statistics were considered unreliable and independent experts started producing their own estimates of demographic indicators based on data from different sources (e.g. the Civil Register, the Ministry of Health and data collected through surveys).

GCPR has corrected official infant mortality rates based on the Georgian Reproductive and Health Surveys of 1999 and 2005, and corrected official statistics on deaths and populations over the last years. As a result, the life expectancy at birth in Georgia is estimated to be 68.8 years for males and 76.7 years for females for 2006, which is somewhat lower than certified Georgian statistics.

Corrected life expectancy trends at birth allows for reliable comparisons between the Caucasus and other countries. According to GCPR’s research, both Georgia and Armenia show a positive life expectancy trend in comparison with for example Russia, but a negative trend in comparison with other European countries. Comparisons of population figures between Georgia and most European and post-Soviet countries can be found on INED’s website.

Even though the quality of statistical data in Georgia has improved significantly over the years, official numbers for sex ratio at birth and estimates of infant deaths still remain in doubt. You can read more about sex ratios in Georgia here on the blog and on GCPR’s website.

On GCPR’s website you will also find information about research projects and a large amount of data on demographics in Georgia.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Election Maps | Who Did Your Neighbors Vote For?

Our GIS Analyst, Dato Sichinava, is now loading preliminary results onto our election maps. If you want to compare regional distribution of results, you can do so very quickly through the portal. Below you see the votes for the Alliance throughout Georgia. Note that on the portal, you can grab the handle (see the arrow) and shift it back and forth.

We also have the results for the United National Movement, and the Christian Democrats. More stuff will come online soon, and we are about to make the maps bigger, so that you can play better -- check it out here

We also have preliminary results for the precinct level in Tbilisi. Note that this is not yet available on the portal. But it shows a fascinating contrast of support. 

Unsurprisingly, Vake is among the strongest supporters of Alasania. Parties should find this data very useful to target their campaigning in the future.

(We would like to thank the National Democratic Institute and the Swedish International Development Agency, Sida, for their support in generating this data, and making it broadly available.)