Younger age groups increasingly jaded with mainstream politics
Today’s youth is becoming increasingly jaded with mainstream politics, according to the November edition of the iSurvey commissioned by The Malta Independent on Sunday.
In fact, when asked to rate the performance of the government and the Opposition, the lowest approval ratings for both sides of the political divide was from the youngest age group.
Conversely, the older age group gave one side or the other the highest percentage of approval ratings. Respondents were asked: ‘How do you rate the government’s performance?’ and ‘How do you rate the Nationalist Party’s (PN) performance in Opposition?’
Overall, those aged between 35 and 44 gave the government the highest approval rating, at 64.6 per cent, followed by those aged 65 or above at 61.3 per cent. The youngest age group, those between 18 and 24, gave the government the lowest approval rating, with 54.2 per cent giving the current administration the thumbs up, 25 per cent disagreeing and 20.8 per cent unsure. That said, however, all the age groups gave the government its approval by more than 50 per cent.
Looking at the breakdown by age for approval of the Opposition, the survey revealed that the youngest age group, 18-24, also gave the Opposition the lowest approval ratings of all the age groups, at 29.2 per cent. A proportion of 47.2 per cent of that age group disapprove of the Opposition’s performance, while 23.6 per cent are unsure. The oldest age group gave the highest approval ratings to the Opposition, at 41.2 per cent, with the same percentage – 41.2 per cent – disagreeing and 17.6 per cent being unsure.
Rather than trying to ascertain whether young people – and older voters – prefer the government or the Opposition, the results clearly indicate that the younger groups are becoming increasingly frustrated with both mainstream parties, while the older groups have kept in line with the more traditional views of politicians.
Overall, 54.4 per cent rate the government’s performance favourably, 30.4 per cent disagree and 15.2 per cent could not give an answer either way. Compared with the April iSurvey, it was found that 40.8 per cent consider the government’s performance good, 40.3 per cent view it unfavourably and 19 per cent could not decide.
This shows that the government’s performance approval ratings have shot up by 13.6 percentage points, compared with the last survey, while the proportion that is unhappy fell by 9.9 percentage points.
Regarding the performance of the Opposition, 33.7 per cent are happy, 45.4 per cent are dissatisfied and 20.8 per cent are undecided. Compared with the April iSurvey results, performance approval fell by 0.8 percentage points (from 34.5 per cent to 33.7 per cent), dissatisfaction increased rose by 4.5 percentage points (from 41 per cent to 45.4 per cent) and those who were undecided was 3.8 percentage points lower (from 24.6 per cent to 20.8 per cent).
There has been a decline in the percentage of approval ratings for the government over the last two years, with the iSurvey in December 2014 recording 59.7 per cent, that in April 2015 showing 58 per cent and the one in April this year showing 40.8 per cent. So this is the first time the approval rating for the government has increased since 2014.
While the Opposition consistently registered an increase in its approval rating between December 2014 and April 2016, the November iSurvey found no change in the way the performance of the Opposition is perceived. April 2016 registered an approval rating of 34.5 per cent, the same as in this month’s survey.
PL and PN voter split
Those who voted PL in the 2013 general election responded as follows: 83.2 per cent of PL voters view the government’s performance as positive, 9.1 per cent view it as negative and 7.7 per cent could not say.
This marks an increase in approval among party voters between last April and now of 10.5 percentage points, from 72.7 per cent to the current 83.2 per cent. The proportion of PL voters who rate the government’s approval poorly has now fallen from 14.5 per cent in April to 11.7 per cent.
While the government has made significant gains, it has still has not managed to climb back to the 91
per cent approval rating PL voters awarded it back in the April 2015 iSurvey.
This all indicates that, the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal, which unfolded while the April 2016 iSurvey was being carried out, has had the biggest impact on the way the government is viewed, to the extent that it has been unable to rebuild the trust lost when the scandal erupted.
Of those who voted for the PN in the last general election, 26.9 per cent view the government’s performance favourably, 58.4 per cent disagree and the remaining 14.6 per cent were undecided.
Compared with the April 2016 iSurvey results, the PN voters’ approval rating has risen significantly, from 6.3 per cent to 26.9 per cent. According to the April 2015 results, in which 29.5 per cent of PN voters found the government’s performance acceptable, this further underscores that the ‘Panama Papers’ scandal had a hugely negative impact on the way both PN and PL voters view the government.
As can be seen from the results, the government has made gains, but not enough to reach the April 2015 approval and trust ratings.
In April 2016, a significant 84 per cent of PN voters disapproved of the government’s performance, a figure that has plunged to 58.4 per cent now.
Regarding how PL voters view the Opposition’s performance, 11.7 per cent view it favourably, 72.1 per cent do not and a total of 16.1per cent could not decide either way. Over the past three surveys, PL voters have consistently viewed the Opposition unfavourably, with the proportion ranging from 68.3per cent last year to 72.1 per cent now.