PL head­ing to­wards another elec­toral vic­tory amid cor­rup­tion per­cep­tion

Malta Independent - - FRONT PAGE - He­lena Grech

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.

New vot­ers

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.

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