When different polls coincide
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
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.