Trust in Muscat on the rise, Busuttil dips slightly
Prime Minister Joseph Muscat remains the most trusted political leader, the November edition of the iSurvey commissioned by The Malta Independent on Sunday shows.
As in the previous editions of the iSurvey, respondents were asked to state how much they trusted each party leader on a scale of one to 10 – with 10 signifying the greatest level of trust, and one the lowest.
Overall, Dr Muscat received a trust rating of 5.9 out of a maximum of 10 – an increase of 0.2 decimal points from the previous survey in April 2016. Dr Busuttil on the other hand received an overall average score of 4.8, a decrease of 0.1 decimal points. The difference between the two leaders has grown to 1.1 points, from a difference of 0.8 points from the April edition.
Previous surveys between December 2014 and April 2016 saw Dr Muscat continuously lose ground on his overall trust ratings, ranging from 6.55 to 5.70. He has, however, managed to turn this around with a slight increase from April till now. At no point has Dr Busuttil overtaken the Prime Minister in terms of personal trust ratings.
Conversely, while Dr Busuttil has consistently gained in trust score between the December 2014 and April 2016 surveys – from a score of 4.54 to 4.9 – this edition has seen him lose out, albeit marginally, for the first time since December 2014.
PN and PL voter split
When breaking down the trust scored based on how people voted in the 2013 general election, it was found that PL voters overwhelmingly trust their party leader Dr Muscat far more than PN voters trust Dr Busuttil. PL voters awarded Prime Minister Muscat a trust score of 8.18 out of a maximum of 10, indicating high trust in the way party loyalists view their leader. It should be noted however that this is not the highest trust
score Dr Muscat has received from PL voters; in the April 2015 iSurvey, he was given a trust score of 8.71.
Dr Busuttil has lost the most ground among PN voters, being awarded a score of just 5.27 out of a maximum of 10. Compared to the trust score he received by PN voters in April 2016, at 7.2, he lost two whole points. The Opposition Leader had been making significant gains between December 2014 and April 2016, until this U-turn.
In view of the government scandals that erupted between December 2014 and April 2016, most notably the Panama Papers scandal, it could be that Dr Busuttil was being carried by the government’s blunders.
It was also found that PL voters place more trust in the Opposition leader than PN voters place trust in the Prime Minister. PL voters gave Dr Busuttil a trust score of 3.33. PN
voters on the other hand, gave Dr Muscat a trust score of 2.59. This shows that PN voters are overall less trusting of either leader, and have great reservations on the trustworthiness of Dr Muscat.
Joseph Muscat v Simon Busuttil
In addition to being asked to rate the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader separately, respondents were also asked: Which party leader do you trust the most?
Overall, 45.1% chose Prime Minister Muscat, 28.5% chose Dr Busuttil, and 23.1% said ‘neither’, while 3.2% refused to answer the question. The difference between Dr Muscat and Dr Busuttil has reached a staggering 16.6 percentage points, compared with a difference of 9.7 percentage points in the April 2016 iSurvey.
It must be noted however that
prior to the 2016 iSurvey, the April 2015 and December 2014 all registered Dr Muscat ahead of Dr Busuttil by over 20 percentage points.
Of those who voted PL in the 2013 general election, 83.2% (from 80.5% in April 2016) chose Dr Muscat, 6% (from 3.7% in April 2016) chose Dr Busuttil, 9.7% (from 14.5% in April 2016) chose ‘neither’ and 1% refused to answer.
Of those who voted PN in the 2013 general election, 10% (from 4.2% in April 2016) chose Dr Muscat, 67.6% (from 77% in April 2016) chose Dr Busuttil, 22.3% (from 16.8% in April 2016) chose ‘neither’ and none refused to answer the question.
How do new voters view Joseph Muscat v Simon Busuttil?
Those who were not eligible to vote in the last general election, when asked to choose their preferred leader, 27.3% chose Dr Muscat,
31.8% chose Dr Busuttil, 36.4% said ‘neither one’, and 4.5% refused to answer the question.
No discernable pattern can be identified, due to the relatively similar split between both leaders and the proportion that chose ‘neither’ as their response.
In addition to this, there was the split of how men and women responded also on similar lines, with 45% of men choosing the Prime Minister, 25.7% chose Dr Busuttil and 25.2% neither one.
42.5% of women choseDr Muscat, 31.3% chose the Opposition leader, and 21.1% said neither one.
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 from the iSurvey will be disclosed throughout the week.