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MaltaToday Survey | Labour voters more likely to attend mass meetings

While 39% of respondents who will be voting for Labour in the next election attend mass meetings, only 29% of PN voters do likewise

james
James Debono
31 May 2017, 4:00pm
Rather than an indication of support for the parties greater numbers in Labour meetings reflect a higher participation rate at mass meetings by Labour voters
Rather than an indication of support for the parties greater numbers in Labour meetings reflect a higher participation rate at mass meetings by Labour voters
The size of mass meetings is a poor indication of the support enjoyed by rival parties simply because PL voters tend to participate in higher numbers in these party rituals than PN voters.

While 39% of respondents who will be voting for Labour in the next election attend mass meetings, only 29% of PN voters do likewise.

Respondents participating in the latest MaltaToday survey were asked whether they have attended mass meetings in this electoral campaign.

The result of the survey explains why attendance at Labour Party mass meetings tends to be greater than that at PN meetings.

Rather than an indication of support for the parties greater numbers in Labour meetings reflect a higher participation rate at mass meetings by Labour voters.  

The survey indicates that 35- to 54-year olds are the most likely to attend mass meetings. While cameras tend to focus on young participants the survey indicates that while only a quarter of 18- to 34-year olds attend mass meetings, a third of 35- to 54-year olds do so.  

 Over 55-year olds, 29% of whom attend meetings, are also more likely to attend meetings than the young.

Mass meetings became popular in the Maltese Islands in the 1970s and 1980s. In this period mass meetings were dominated by the towering personalities of Dom Mintoff and Eddie Fenech Adami. While Mintoff excelled in parables, explaining political issues in a language understood by the crowd in a crescendo leading to his “Malta l-ewwel u qabel kollox” battlecry, Fenech Adami’s sense of gravitas hooked thousands, who fell under his spell as soon as he uttered the “huti Maltin u Ghawdxin” opening line. For Nationalists meetings became the most reliable source of news in a media environment dominated by the party in government.  

The advent of party political stations and greater media pluralism reduced the importance of mass meetings in the dissemination of political propaganda. 

From the 1990s meetings took a semblance of a party to make them more attractive to the younger audience. Politicians are no longer the only attraction but they have become the headliners, addressing the crowds buoyed by famed DJs and MOCs. Meeting are also synonymous with campaign songs such as “We Take the Chance” and “Win the Race” (Modern Talking), “The Final Countdown”, Macarena, Children and political chants such as “Nghidu Iva” (Say Yes), “Partnership l-Ahjar Ghazla” (Partnership the Best Choice), Iva, Flimkien kollox possibbli (Yes, Together everything is possible) and “The Only Way Is Up Labour”.  

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