PL heading towards another electoral victory amid corruption perception
QUESTION Should an election on be held today, who would you vote for?
Should an election be held today, the Labour Party (PL) would win the election by a comfortable 7.7 percentage points, a survey commissioned by The Malta Independent on Sunday shows.
Respondents were simply asked: Should an election be held today, who would you vote for? After removing the ‘don’t knows’ and ‘would not vote’ from the equation, the results are as follows: 52% for the PL, 44.3% for the Nationalist Party (PN), 2.7% would go to Alternattiva Demokratiku (AD), 0.5% for Partit Demokratiku (PD) and 0.5% would go to other small parties or independent candidates.
Compared with the results of the 2013 general election, the PL have lost 2.8 percentage points, the PN gained one percentage point, AD gained 0.9 percentage points, while the PD, which at the time had been announced but not formally launched, and other small parties or independent candidates went up by 0.02 percentage points.
Despite the relative majority who believe the government to be corrupt, at 47.02% v the 37.83% who do not, the PL appears to be heading for another electoral victory.
When keeping the ‘don’t knows’ and ‘would not vote’ in the equation, the answers to the question as to which party respondents will vote are as follows: 34.6% would vote PL, 29.4% would go to the PN, 1.7% for AD, 0.4% each would go for PD and other small parties, while a significant 16.2% say they would not vote, and a further 17.6% say they are undecided, for a total of 33.5%.
When making comparisons with the April 2016 iSurvey, it was found that 32.8% said they would vote PL, 29.5% said they would vote for PN, 2.8% said AD, 4.2% said they would vote for Marlene Farrugia’s new party, 0.7% chose
other small parties, 17.3% said they would not vote and 12.9% were undecided.
Despite AD being a well-established party, with a clear philosophy and political will that appears to be somewhat in line with the 72% of respondents who do not feel as though the environment is being safeguarded, it has lost ground from the 2.8% of respondents it had in the April 2016 iSurvey, to just 1.7%.
Worse still, PD led by independent MP Marlene Farrugia received just 0.4% of mentions, compared with the 4.2% in April 2016.
With regard to the April 2016 iSurvey, respondents were surveyed at the height of the Panama Papers scandal. This
refers to the discovery that Minister without Portofolio Konrad Mizzi and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri owned secret companies in Panama sheltered by trusts in New Zealand.
At the time, MP Marlene Farrugia’s vocal criticism of Dr Mizzi and Mr Schembri’s involvement in the international scandal, the announcement of her setting up a new political party, and public outrage at Malta’s implication in the scandal, was possible the reason why the PD received such a relatively high proportion of votes when compared with the other non-mainstream parties.
Compared with the April 2016 iSurvey results, the proportion of those who say they
would not vote has gone down by 1.1 percentage points, from 17.3% to 16.2%. The proportion of those who say they are undecided when comparing both surveys has increased by 4.4 percentage points, from 12.9% to 17.3%.
It is difficult to say how many of the 16.2% of those who say they would not vote will stick to their word, or what proportion of the 17.3% of those who say they are undecided will ultimately vote for. Compared with the voter turnout for Malta’s general elections, which is among the highest in the free world, one cannot ignore the proportion of respondents who are visibly frustrated with both mainstream parties.
PN and PL voter split based on 2013 general election
When breaking down the data based on how people voted in the 2013 general election, it was found that:
Out of those who voted PL, 70.1% say they would vote PL again should an election be held today, 5.4% say they would vote for the PN, 0.3% say they would vote PD, 12.4% say they would not vote, 11.4% say they are unsure and 0.3% refused to answer the question.
Compared with the way PL voters answered this question during the April edition of the iSurvey, PL lost 0.5 percentage points, PN gained 1.3 percentage points, AD lost the 2.2 percentage points – having been given
zero mentions by PL voters in this survey and PD lost 1.6% of mentions.
In addition to this, the proportion of PL voters who said they would not vote went down by 0.6 percentage points while the proportion of PL voters who say they are undecided has shot up by 5.1 percentage points between April and now. Respondents who refused to answer the question amounted to 1.9% in April.
The proportion of PL voters who said they would vote PL should an election be held today remained relatively unchanged between April and November.
It seems that the roughly 30% of PL voters who said they would not vote PL today has remained relatively unchanged, with the lion’s share being taken up by the ‘would not vote’ and the ‘don’t knows’.
Out of those who voted PN in the 2013 general election, 6.2% say they would vote PL should an election happen today, 71.5% say they would vote PN, 0.8% each for AD, PD and other small parties, 6.2% say they would not vote while 13.9% say they are undecided.
The data indicates that PD has not yet managed yet to attract disgruntled PL voters perceived as following Marlene Farrugia.
Instead, far more PL voters than PN voters say they would not vote, at 12.4% and 6.2% respectively, indicating a higher degree of frustration felt by PL voters towards their own party. Slightly more PN voters are undecided as to who they would vote for, with a difference of just 2.4 percentage points.
To the PN’s dismay, it appears that PN voters are much more likely to switch, with 2.1% of the blue party’s voters saying they would vote PL during the April survey, going up to 6.2% this time round. PN voters also appear to be more likely to switch to other non-mainstream parties than their PL counterparts.
Interestingly, when looking at the answers from respondents who were not eligible to vote during the last general election, because they were noy yet 18, it was found that just 4.5% said they would vote PL, 31.8% would vote PN, and 9.1% would vote AD; none mentioned Marlene Farrugia’s PD, 4.5% say they would vote for other smaller parties, a whopping 27.3% say they would not vote, 18.2% are undecided and 4.5% refused to answer.
This would point to a shift in priorities for the younger generations when compared to their older cohorts. Keeping in mind the strong belief that government corruption is rife and that the environment is not being safeguarded, this could explain the reluctance to vote for the governing party, and why the Green Party was awarded 9.1% of the vote.
It would also explain the staggering 27.3% who say they would not vote and the 18.2% who could not decide. In addition to this, growing anti-establishment sentiment among youngsters all over the Western world could also be a possible reason for the high proportion of those who say they would not vote.
The November 2016 iSurvey – the sixth of its kind – was commissioned to Business Leaders Malta on behalf of The Malta Independent. A total of 600 respondents were used, representative of age, gender and spread of localities. With such a sample size, the margin of error is +/- 4%. More info on the iSurvey will be disclosed throughout the week.