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MaltaToday survey | Labour 12 points ahead of Nationalists

Nationalists edge two points closer to Labour in new MaltaToday survey.

james
James Debono
4 February 2013, 12:00am


TRUST BAROMETER | Methodology | FULL DATA

The past week has seen little change in the polls except for a slight decrease in Labour's support, which was corresponded by a small increase among undecided voters, a MaltaToday survey has revealed.

The survey suggests that although the presentation of the PN's electoral programme has not been a game-changer, the party has managed to arrest a downward trend.

In fact last week the PL widened its lead over the PN from 11 points in the beginning of January to a record 14 points. The increase in Labour's gap came in the wake of the oil kickbacks scandal, whose repercussions continued to be felt this week after Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt was called in for questioning by the police.

But over the past week, the gap has been cut from 14 to 12 points, which has been the normal gap between the two parties over the past year except for December when the PN had managed to close the gap to 9 points.



At 1.8%, the Greens register their highest percentage in the past month thanks to a small swing from the PN.

The survey was held among 700 respondents between Monday and Thursday.

But while the PN has edged two points closer to Labour, the swing of voters from the PN to the PL has increased from 7 to 9 points.

Labour is also leading among new voters and respondents who had not voted in the 2008 election even if the PN has regained some lost ground among the new voters.

Support for the Greens has increased slightly over the past three weeks - from 1.5% in the beginning of the month to 1.8% now.

The percentage of people who intend not voting has continued to drop to the lowest mark in the past year: 2.1%.

Joseph Muscat continues to enjoy a very high trust rating of nearly 46% against Gonzi's 33%.



PN continues to bleed

The survey shows the PN losing 10.6% of its 2008 voters to Labour up from 9% in the latest survey. The percentage of PL voters in 2008 now shifting to the PN has decreased slightly from 2% to 1.5%.

This means the net swing between the two major parties is equivalent to 9.1% up from 7% last month.

The survey sees the PN losing 1.8% of 2008 voters to the Greens, up from 1% in the beginning of January. But Labour loses nothing of its 2008 cohort of voters to the Greens.

The survey sees the PN retaining 70% of its voters down from 73% last week. The PL retains 92% of its voters - a slight increase over last week.

In this survey AD only retains 57% of its 2008 voters, losing 14% of its support to Labour. But the party compensates for these losses by attracting new voters, former non-voters and former PN voters, thereby increasing its vote share over 2008.

Significantly the PN is not compensating its losses to Labour by making gains among new voters, as was clearly the case before the 2008 election. In fact among this category of first-time voters the PL enjoys an 11-point lead. The PN is also trailing Labour by 22 points among another pivotal category, those who did not vote in the 2008 general election.

The 2008 election had seen the lowest turnout since 1971 with the number of non-voters increasing by 9,000 over 2003 levels. The survey indicates that 51% of non-voters in 2008 will be voting in March and the overwhelming majority of these will be voting for Labour.

New voters, which were pivotal to the PN's victory in 2008, are also shifting towards Labour albeit at a lower rate.

This category has been quite volatile in its voting intentions with the PN leading Labour over most of the past year. But Labour has gained an edge over the past weeks and now enjoys an 11-point lead in this category of voters.

Significantly the survey shows the PN still trailing by 8 points if it managed to recover all of its 2008 voters who are still undecided or who intend not to vote. This suggests that new voters are pivotal to the party's electoral strategy.

Older voters more undecided

In this survey the PN has seen its support increase among 18-34 year olds but losing among those aged over 55 years of age. This comes in the wake of an increase in undecided voters among elderly voters.

In fact among this category, while the PL has increased its support by a single point, the PN has lost 4 points. The PL now enjoys a staggering 17-point lead among this category.

Support for both major parties has increased among the 35-55 category. But while the PN has increased its support by 3 points, Labour has seen a six-point increase in support in this category.

The PN has made inroads among younger voter gaining 5 points. Labour has registered a drop of 8 points in this category. In the past months the 18-34 age cohort has proved to be quite unstable with both parties making inroads at different points in time.

AD has registered a slight increase in support among both the 35-54 age group where its support stands at 2.2% and among over 55-year-olds where its support stands at 1.3%.

But this has come in the wake of a decrease in support among younger voters where its support stands at 3.5% down from 4.6% last week.

Muscat retains trust lead

Labour leader Joseph Muscat currently enjoys the same trust rating as last week which is the highest trust rating in the past year. This suggests that the party's highly personalised campaign, which is highly reminiscent of GonziPN in 2008, is highly effective with the electorate.

Gonzi registers his second highest trust rating during the year but trails Muscat by a staggering 13 points. Both leaders remain slightly more popular than their party.

89% of those expressing a trust in either two leaders intend to vote for the same party of their most trusted leader. Only 0.3% preferred a leader from the opposite party. But a significant 1.7% of those who trust Gonzi would vote AD while only 0.3% of those who prefer Muscat would do the same.

The survey confirms that Muscat makes a greater impact among PN voters in 2008 than Gonzi does with PL voters in 2008. While 13% of PN voters in 2008 now trust Muscat more than Gonzi only 2% of PL voters in 2008 now prefer Gonzi to Muscat. Significantly Muscat also commands a higher degree of trust than Gonzi among those who did not vote in 2008.



Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 28 January and Thursday 31 January. A total of 959 respondents were randomly chosen from telephone directories and contacted by telephone. Of these 700 accepted to be interviewed. Results were weighed to reflect the age and sex balance of population. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.7%.
james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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Joseph Grech
@lulu go to sleep
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More people need to see the light and vote labour. In any case it is a win win situation for the nationalist supporters if the labour gov is in power.
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emanuel cauchi
The change in support (PL drops 1.4) is lower than the margin of error (+/- 3.7). To talk about any shift over a week is somewhat meaningless with this sort of change and error. The fact is that the PN has not made significant inroads since the election campaign started.