Back
Register for SMS Alerts
or enter your details manually below...
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Password:
Hometown:
Birthday:
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.
Existing users
Email
Password
Sorry, we couldn't find those details.
Enter Email
Sorry, we couldn't find that email.

MaltaToday survey | The 9 per cent shift from PN to Labour

PL still 12 points ahead of PN, both parties increase support by four points, and 10% of PN voters in 2008 still intend voting Labour

james
James Debono
3 October 2012, 12:00am
Main results from MaltaToday's electoral survey for October.
Main results from MaltaToday's electoral survey for October.
Middle-age blues | Policies and issues | Methodology



MaltaToday's survey reveals that while the PL enjoys a 12-point electoral lead, when it comes to policies the PN is lagging by only 4 points when respondents are asked which party has the best policies. 

The survey also reveals that nearly 15% of current Labour voters do not think that their party has the best policies.

Still, despite constant criticism on the absence of policies, a relative majority of 36% still think that the party in opposition has the best policies while only 32% think the PN has the best policies. This comes in the wake of the PL's first 'Congress' which focused on consulting party members on the party's 'road map' manifesto. 

Utility bills also emerge as the top concern of the electorate. This suggests that Labour is in synch with the electorate by emphasising its pledge to cut utility bills even if it remains unclear how this reduction will take place - something which could explain the smaller gap between the two main parties when it comes to policies. 

While the PN has failed to arrest losses to Labour, it has significantly reduced the percentage of its 2008 voters who now intend not to vote from 12% to 8%. In this way, the PN now manages to retain more of its 2008 voters than in the past months, up from 64% to 70%. 

This suggests that the party's campaign has been successful to galvanise the core vote, but has so far failed to dent the party's losses to Labour.

On the other hand, the PL only loses a mere 1% of its 2008 voters to the PN and 1% to the Greens. Moreover, the PL also managed to retain more of its 2008 voters than in last month's survey, up from 87% to 92%. 

This means that effectively there is 9-point shift from the Nationalist Party to the Labour Party. This shift has been consistent for the past year, in an indication that the PN's attempt to erode voters' trust in Labour - culminating in the 'Labour Does Not Work' billboard have so far failed to have any impact.  

The survey confirms that the PL would still win the election albeit with a reduced seven-point margin if both parties recover all of their 2008 voters who now intend not voting or who remain undecided.

Middle-age blues

The survey shows that the PN is trailing Labour in all age groups but faces the greatest % changeiculties among 35 to 54 year olds.

While among this age group the PN trails Labour by 18 points, the gap falls to 12 points among 18 to 34 year olds and to eight points among those aged over 55 years of age.

But the 35 to 54 age group also includes the highest number of undecided respondents. While only nine per cent of 18 to 34 year olds are undecided, the percentage of undecided rises to 21% among over 55 year-olds and to a staggering 30% among 35 to 54 year olds. This suggests that the PN is weakest among the age bracket with the most undecided respondents.

Significantly, the 18 to 34 year old bracket also includes the highest percentage of non-voters (12%) and AD voters (3%).

The same pattern emerges when one assesses the trust in the two party leaders, with Gonzi trailing Muscat in all three age groups with the gap between the two leaders ranging from eight points among over 55-year-olds to 15 points among 35 to 54-year-olds.

Policies and issues

Despite facing widespread criticism that it is evasive on alternative policies, Labour still emerges from the party deemed to have the best policies, albeit with a five-point margin.

But while support for the PN's policies is higher than the party's electoral strength, support for the PL's policies stands at a lower level than the party's current electoral strength.

In fact, while the PN trails Labour by 12% with regards to electoral strength, it only trails Labour by five per cent when it comes to policies.

While a substantial 14% of current Labour voters do not think their party has the best policies for the country, only six per cent of PN voters think that their party does not have the best policies.

This suggests that PN voters are more motivated by policies than Labour voters.

Still, by making a reduction in utility bills in its main electoral pledge, Labour is clearly in synch with the electorate. In fact, when asked to state their top policy concern, one in every four respondents mentioned utility bills, while only 13% mentioned job creation which is the PN's main electoral theme. 

Surprisingly, immigration and corruption do not feature in the list of top electoral issues, while education only emerges as a top issue among Nationalist voters. Job creation emerges as the top concern of PN voters.

On the other hand, while low wages are a greater concern for PN voters, the cost of living is a greater concern among Labour voters. 

Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 24 and Thursday 27 September. 786 respondents were contacted by telephone after being chosen from telephone directories. 600 accepted to be interviewed. The results of the survey were weighed to reflect the age and gender balance of the population according to the 2010 demographic review issued by the National Office of Statistics. The survey has a margin of error of /-4%.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...