Elec­tion polls, first-time vot­ers and lead­er­ship trust

Last week­end was char­ac­terised by polls com­mis­sioned by TMIS and Malta To­day, which in their re­sults seem to point in the same di­rec­tion.

Malta Independent - - NEWS - Arnold Cas­sola

Of course, any­one of us can in­ter­pret the fig­ures in dif­fer­ent ways

At a time when peo­ple have started doubt­ing the ve­rac­ity of opin­ion polls, this is quite sig­nif­i­cant. One must how­ever also keep in mind the mar­gin of er­ror of +/- 4%.

The TMIS polls gave the fol­low­ing re­sult: “After re­mov­ing the ‘don’t knows’ and ‘would not vote’ from the equa­tion: 52% for the PL, 44.3% for the Na­tion­al­ist Party, 2.7% for Al­ter­nat­tiva Demokratika, 0.5% for Par­tit Demokratiku and 0.5% would go to oth­ers”.

Of course, any­one of us can in­ter­pret the fig­ures in dif­fer­ent ways. And one could be tread­ing on dan­ger­ous ground if one were to ig­nore the “don’t knows” and “I would not vote” seg­ments since th­ese con­sti­tute quite a sub­stan­tial amount of vot­ers.

Hav­ing said this, I was quite sur­prised by the ori­en­ta­tions of the first-time vot­ers, the 18-22 year old co­hort. In fact, the TMIS poll gave the fol­low­ing re­sults as re­gards first-time vot­ers: 31.8% said they would vote PN; 9.1% would vote AD; 4.5% would vote PL and 4.5% said they would vote for other smaller par­ties. I checked with TMIS to en­sure that there was no mis­print here, with the PL fig­ures sup­posed to read 45% ... and not 4.5%?

It is not a mis­print, how­ever, One would still have to be very cau­tious here since the amount of young­sters who would not have de­clared their vot­ing in­ten­tions (around 50%) is ex­tremely high and there­fore the pic­ture given could be a very blurred one.

What is how­ever sure is the malaise felt by the up­com­ing younger gen­er­a­tions of Mal­tese when they had to de­clare their trust in the two ma­jor po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. In fact, whilst 31.8% have de­clared their trust in Dr Busut­til and 27.3% in­stead opted for Dr Mus­cat, the ma­jor­ity of young­sters (36.4%) do not trust ei­ther Si­mon or Joseph. One won­ders whether such mis­trust is lim­ited to th­ese two lead­ers or whether the mis­trust is in all Mal­tese politi­cians.

What, in my opin­ion, is in­dis­putable is that this gen­er­a­tion, that has been ex­posed since birth to the open world as pre­sented by google, in­ter­net and the var­i­ous so­cial me­dia, is no longer sus­cep­ti­ble to be duped by the empty prom­ises, some­times even lies, of cer­tain tra­di­tional politi­cians. It is a gen­er­a­tion of dis­cern­ing young adults who can in­stantly ver­ify at a click of a key­board whether what they are be­ing fed and promised by politi­cians is gospel truth or sim­ply hog­wash.

The level of mis­trust in the two po­lit­i­cal lead­ers is also rel­a­tively high even amongst the whole pop­u­la­tion in gen­eral. Whilst Dr Mus­cat is trusted by 45.5% of the Mal­tese and 28.5% trust Dr Busut­til, 23.1% of the re­spon­dents do not trust any of them at all, whilst 3.24% re­fused to make their pref­er­ence known.

Around 25% of the Mal­tese, ba­si­cally, do not trust the two po­lit­i­cal lead­ers. Is this a one­off? Or will sub­se­quent opin­ion polls con­firm this trend. Let us wait and see. What­ever, as we ap­proach elec­tion day, th­ese polls will cer­tainly pro­vide us with in­ter­est­ing data to dis­sect.

While Su­per Moon hid, light­ning flashed. Photo taken on a dark night at Għargħur. Photo: Jonathan Borg

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Malta

© PressReader. All rights reserved.