When dif­fer­ent polls co­in­cide

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

Some­thing rather un­usual hap­pened in Malta yes­ter­day: two news­pa­pers, one of which is from this pub­lish­ing house, came out with their polls and the two polls, in­de­pen­dently of each other, co­in­cided. They showed that PM Mus­cat is more pop­u­lar than Si­mon Busut­til and they also showed that the PL is still more pop­u­lar than the PN, such that if an elec­tion is held now, and if one were to ex­clude the doubters and those who do not vote, PL would win com­fort­ably. Now our poll comes on top of other polls which showed that the Mal­tese peo­ple feel that Malta is mired in cor­rup­tion and that the en­vi­ron­ment is tak­ing a beat­ing. Those should be two rea­sons for peo­ple to turn away from the present gov­ern­ment, but this has not hap­pened. Be­fore jump­ing to con­clu­sions, one must be­ware that polls th­ese days do not have a good press. The Brexit ref­er­en­dum and more re­cently Don­ald Trump’s elec­tion con­founded the pre­dic­tions by the me­dia

Edi­tor’s pick

and the polls. And the losers in both cases were those who be­lieved in the polls and fash­ioned their poli­cies ac­cord­ingly.

To go into the specifics, it would seem that the ‘switch­ers’, that is, nor­mally PN vot­ers who in 2013 switched to Labour are not com­pletely con­vinced they made the wrong move in 2013. In fact, a good pro­por­tion of them say they still in­tend to vote PL. The two polls make bleak read­ing for Si­mon Busut­til as he sees the Prime Min­is­ter re­tain­ing his poll lead month af­ter month, or, shall we say, scan­dal af­ter scan­dal. There can be only one ex­pla­na­tion to the last two points we have made: those who switched in 2013 are not com­pletely con­vinced PN has re­ally changed. The pres­ence of some of the pre-2013 gov­ern­ment still on the Op­po­si­tion benches or even the front benches and pos­si­bly the con­tin­u­a­tion of the at­ti­tude which led PN to dis­as­ter then are heavy dis­suad­ing rea­sons.

Dr Busut­til’s per­sonal at­ti­tude also seems to be con­tribut­ing to the de­cline. He must have a hard look at the way his per­son­al­ity is be­ing per­ceived by the coun­try and change, if pos­si­ble, ac­cord­ingly. Maybe too he is sur­rounded by the wrong type of peo­ple and maybe he is get­ting the wrong ad­vice.

The poll we are car­ry­ing today then is fas­ci­nat­ing. Af­ter all those months of panic as the LNG tanker trav­elled to Malta seem to have dis­in­te­grated, more peo­ple are afraid of the tanker in Marsaxlokk Bay who live in the Grand Har­bour and North ar­eas than the peo­ple who live around the tanker in Marsaxlokk and Birżeb­buġa. The par­ties’ in­flu­ence is clear: the PL area around the tanker be­lieves the gov­ern­ment when it says the tanker does not con­sti­tute any dan­ger while those who live in PN-held area fur­ther away are in awe of the tanker.

All in all, it would seem that peo­ple are still very favourably im­pressed by the state of the econ­omy and thus they see no rea­son to question what the Prime Min­is­ter says.

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