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MaltaToday Survey | Concern on corruption drops by 22 points

Increase in concern over immigration, crime and over-development as political fatigue sets in and corruption drops in list of concerns

james
James Debono
7 September 2017, 11:24am
Opposition MPs hold placards in parliament reading 'I don't have a secret company in Panama'
Opposition MPs hold placards in parliament reading 'I don't have a secret company in Panama'
The first post-election survey by MaltaToday on national concerns shows corruption dropping in the list of concerns of the Maltese, as it is overtaken by growing unease on immigration, crime and over-development.

Traffic remains the more serious worry of the Maltese as it has been since September 2015.

Significantly, although the survey coincided with the summer lull, concern on traffic is now just three points lower than it was in October last year, days after the opening of schools. Moreover concern about parking has reached an all time high of 13%.

Respondents were asked to name the two greatest problems facing the country, without being prompted with a list of answers.

Unease about corruption remains higher than it ever was before September 2015, when the government was hit by the first serious corruption scandal over government land transferred to Mark Gaffarena. Previously corruption did not even feature among the top worries of the Maltese.

But the survey suggests political fatigue after a general election which saw the Opposition Nationalist party losing heavily after spearheading a campaign built around corruption allegations revolving around the offshore companies owned by minister Konrad Mizzi and the PM’s right-hand man Keith Schembri. The subject has prompted a number of magisterial inquiries which are yet to be concluded.

The decline in concern on corruption may also reflect the weakness of the Opposition, which has yet to elect a new leader who can voice concern on good governance issues. It may also reflect a ‘new normal’ where fewer people see corruption as being a reason for concern.

In fact while in March 63% of PN voters voiced concern about corruption, this has dropped to just 16% in this survey.

The survey shows that immigration is now the second most important worry of the Maltese, closely followed by unease about crime. Concern on immigration has risen by 14 points over March and on crime by 12 points.

The rise in concern on immigration suggests that this is no longer fuelled by boat arrivals (which have stopped) but is now associated by the growing number of foreign workers in the country. In a clear indication of growing insecurity, concern on crime is now at an all-time high.

Other growing worries are those on environmental issues. While the generic concern on “the environment” has risen by six points to reach the 10 percent mark, concern on over-development and construction has now reached an all time high of eight points.

This suggests that 17% of the Maltese list an environmental issue as one of their most pressing concerns. 

Unease about environmental issues is particularly high among PN voters. Among this category 21% list the environment or over-development as one of their main worries, compared to only 13% of PL voters and 11% of floating voters (respondents who voted for different parties in the past three elections).

On the other hand concern on immigration and crime is particularly higher among Labour voters. While only 10% of PN voters list crime as one of their two main concerns, this rises to 27% among PL voters.  And while 18% of PN voters are worried about immigration, this rises to 26% among PL voters.  On the other hand PN voters are the most likely to be concerned with the cost of living (17%) and with low income (5%). Unease about traffic is highest among floating voters (37%).

The survey also offers an insight on the concern of supporters for the four contenders for the PN leadership. As expected concern on immigration and crime is highest among voters for Frank Portelli. On the other hand, concern on the environment and over-development is highest among those who prefer Chris Said. Compared to those who prefer Said, supporters of Adrian Delia and Alex Perici Calascione are more concerned with migration and less concerned with corruption.

 

Methodology

901 respondents were randomly chosen from telephone directories. 404 accepted to be interviewed. The survey was time barred and was held between Monday 21 and Thursday 24 August. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.9 percentage points. The results of the survey were weighed to reflect the age and gender balance of the population based on the 2011 census of the population.

 

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