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[ANALYSIS] Political earthquake: How Muscat changed Maltese concerns

If there has been one earthquake in the political landscape since the last general election, it has been registered in MaltaToday’s polls tracking the concerns of the Maltese public

james
James Debono
10 May 2017, 9:19am
MaltaToday’s historical survey of concerns suggests a shift from bread and butter issues affecting people’s pockets, to a concern on governance and quality of life issues
MaltaToday’s historical survey of concerns suggests a shift from bread and butter issues affecting people’s pockets, to a concern on governance and quality of life issues
If there has been one earthquake in the political landscape since the last general election, it has been registered in MaltaToday’s polls tracking the concerns of the Maltese public: while before 2013 the main concerns were the cost of living and utility bills, the main concerns under the Muscat administration have been traffic and corruption.

While concern on utility bills peaked at 50% in February 2010, informed by a 17% surcharge on water and electricity first introduced in 2005 by the Gonzi administration, only 0.5% expressed this concern last March – the result of Labour’s key energy plank to slash prices by 25% and turn to LNG to power the Maltese islands.

On the other hand concern on corruption, which never surpassed the 3% mark between 2008 and 2013, has now hit the 30% mark in March.

Concern on traffic increased from 6% in 2013 to a staggering 32% in the last MaltaToday survey. Concern on parking has also risen to 11% from nil in December 2013. Concern on the cost of living, on the other hand, has also fallen from 50% in 2012 to 10% now, reflecting the greater control on inflation under Muscat’s government.

Some trends had already been established under the last Gonzi administration. 

Concern on jobs, which was already falling under the Gonzi administration, from 21% at the peak of the international recession in 2009 to just 14% in 2012 has continued to drop to just 1.4% now. Labour has presided over the largest ever growth in private sector employment, by 6% from 2014 when jobs increased from 119,617 to 127,418 up until July 2015 – the latest available data. 

But MaltaToday’s historical survey of concerns suggests a shift from bread and butter issues affecting people’s pockets, to a concern on governance and quality of life issues.

The change in the list of concerns could also reflect the priorities set by political parties and partisan allegiance, with Labour party voters more keen on mentioning traffic, while PN voters more keen on mentioning corruption.

New concerns have also emerged, with respondents starting to distinguish between the environment in general and over-development, a concern mentioned by 4% of respondents in March. 

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