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MaltaToday electoral survey | PN narrows swing, Labour keep 11-point lead

Trust rating - Gonzi trails Muscat by 12.5 points down from 14 points

james
James Debono
25 February 2013, 12:00am
The PN has managed to gain two points over the week.
The PN has managed to gain two points over the week.


The latest MaltaToday survey shows an 11-point gap between the two main parties, down from 12.8 points last week. Moreover, the swing from PN voters in 2008 to Labour is down to 5.8 points from 8.4 points the previous week.

This indicates that although the overall situation has remained stable with Labour enjoying a strong lead, former Nationalist voters are slightly more hesitant on switching to Labour than last week.

This results from a telephone survey conducted between Monday and Thursday among 700 respondents, which has a margin of error of +/-3.7%. 

The survey's sample had practically an equal number of respondents who voted PN or PL in the last general election.

The survey shows that the PL is practically back to the same position it was two weeks ago before making a 3-point gain last week, when the lead had been narrowed to 10 points and the swing to 6.4 points.

The survey shows AD registering its best ever result (2.3%) in MaltaToday surveys, benefiting from a 2.8 point swing from the PN and a smaller 0.8 swing from the PL, as well as a strong affirmation among younger voters, where its support is close to 5%.

The survey suggests that ongoing controversy over the oil procurement scandal and the parallel saga revolving around drug-related activity in PL clubs have not significantly altered Labour's lead, but could have made PN voters more hesitant in switching to Labour.

The survey coincided with the PN's revelation that PL leader was aware of drug-related activity in the Safi club.

The survey was concluded before the PN revealed the involvement of Labour's treasurer Joe Cordina as the director-shareholder of Intershore Fiduciary Services - the nominee company that owned George Farrugia's Aikon Ltd, before the trader assumed full ownership in January 2011.

It was also conducted before Labour accused Minister Tonio Fenech that he had received a gift from George Farrugia when he became minister responsible for Enemalta, a claim denied by Fenech.

The percentage of people who have no intention of voting has increased from 3.3% to 3.7% over the past week. The number of undecided has decreased slightly.

Joseph Muscat continues to enjoy a very high trust rating of 45.1%, down from 46.5% last week against Gonzi's 32.6%.







How scandals changed the campaign

The PL had widened its lead over the PN from 11 points in the beginning of January to a record 14 points in the third week of the campaign. 

The increase in Labour's gap came in the wake of the oil kickbacks scandal whose repercussions continued to be felt the following week after Infrastructure Minister Austin Gatt was called for questioning by the police.  

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

The fifth week of the campaign has seen the gap cut to 10 points, which was one of the lowest gaps recorded in the past year. The PN's gains coincided with an interview in which Labour Deputy Leader Anglu Farrugia denounced links between Labour and big contractors.

But over the next week amidst further controversy on the oil procurement and the publication of emails referring to meetings with minister Austin Gatt, Labour once again widened its lead despite the PN's onslaught on PL deputy leader Toni Abela which continued in the next week.

This week's survey shows the gap narrowed slightly to 11 points.

PN contains haemorrhage

The survey shows the PN losing 7.7% of its 2008 voters to Labour down from 10.3% in the latest survey.  The percentage of PL voters in 2008 now shifting to the PN has remained the same (1.9%).

This means the net swing between the two major parties has decreased from 8.4 points to 5.8 points.

The PN also loses 2.7 points to AD, up from 2.3 points last week. Labour now loses 0.8 points to the Greens up from 0.3 points last week.

The survey sees the PN retaining more of its 2008 voters than last week.  In fact, the percentage of votes retained by the PN has risen from 69% last week to 72% this week.

Labour has also increased the percentage of votes retained from 2008 from 88% to 92%.

In this survey, AD retains 57% of its 2008 voters up from 27% last week and does not lose any votes to the other two parties.

The party is also attracting a number ex-PN voters, a small amount of former PL voters, new voters and non-voters in the 2008 election.  In this survey, AD attracts 7% of new voters.

If AD manages to retain its undecided 2008 voters it would reach 2.6%.

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 a 22-point lead over the PN.

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 47 % 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. 

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.

Significantly, the survey shows the PN still trailing by 6 points (down from 9 points last week) if it managed to recover all of its 2008 voters who are still undecided or who intend not to vote.  This suggests that prospects for a late recovery for the PN remain very bleak.

Labour increases lead among young voters

Over the past week, both major parties have managed to win a greater share of the 18- to 34- age group, with the PN increasing its share by 3 points and Labour by 6 points. 

Labour now enjoys a 12-point lead among this age group.

AD registers 4.5% in the age group, one point less than last week. AD has also seen its support rise by a point among voters in the 35 to 54 year old bracket.

While the PN's vote has remained stable among both over 35 to 54 year olds and over 55 year olds, the PL has lost 6 points among over 55 year olds.  This suggests a greater level of indecision among older voters.

Both major parties have retained the same level of support among 35 to 54 year olds where Labour continues to enjoy an 11-point lead.

But among over 55 year olds the PN has managed to close the gap from 18 points to 11 points.

In fact, the gap in all age groups now corresponds amount to between 11 and 12 points.

Muscat retains trust lead

In the trust barometer, Joseph Muscat enjoys a 12.5 point lead, down from 14 points last week.

The survey suggests that just two weeks before the election Gonzi has still not recovered one of the greatest hurdle for his re-election, which is Muscat's higher trust rating.  This is a complete reversal of the situation in 2008 when Gonzi was more trusted than Alfred Sant.

Interestingly, although only 7.7% of PN voters in 2008 would now vote for Labour, 11.5% of PN voters in 2008 now trust Muscat more than Gonzi. Most of these are still undecided on who to vote for in two weeks time.  This suggests that a category of former Nationalist voters prefer Muscat but are hesitant on switching party allegiance.  But this factor could also make it harder for the PN to reduce the swing further.

Only 2.3% of Labour voters in 2008 prefer Gonzi to Muscat.  This is just slightly higher than the percentage of voters shifting from the PL to the PN (1.9%).



Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 18 February and Thursday 21 February. A total of 987 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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Michael Spiteri
u inzijt haga ohra ma li kitteb azammit il 500 mitt ewro zieda li ha gonzi u shabu u li kieku ma indunawh il labour kienu jibqaw johduwhom sal lummusmar ghantik ibdlu ghax sadid irrabbi.
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Brian De Bono
Il poplu mhux se jinsa minn xiex ghadda dawn l ahhar 5 snin. Zidiet fil kontijiet ta dawl/ilma/petrol/diesel/gas. It tbatijiet li ghaddew minnhom il haddiema ta Air Malta, Sea Malta, GO, Dryodcks, Shipbuilding. Mhux se jinsa l iskandlu taz zejt. Mhux se jinsa sitwazzjoni fil Qrati Il waiting list l isptar biex taghmel operazzjoni. Il wedghi ta 2008 li ma inzammux, Il fjask Arriva Power station tahdem bl aktar zejt li iniggez, l inkwiet intern fil PN. ILligijiet li ma ghaddiex Gonzi bhal Whistleblower Act, finanzjament tal Partiti. Il poplu ma ghadux beccun bhal ma qieghin jahsbuh tal PN.
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UIl-poplu mhux ser jinsa kif Gonzipn irnexxilu jitradih b'kontijiet fenominali u ivvota bil-qalb ghalihom. Irnexxilu jitmejjel b'kulhadd li ghax iz-zejt gholi minn barra, meta issa nafu li kien ilu jaf bl-iskandli tal-commissions. X'jimpurtana x'kien jaf Dr Muscat Jew Dr Abela fuq droga ta' sentejn ilu, l-izjed meta kulhadd jaf li d-droga tinsab kullimkien, inkluz il-habs. Jimpurtana mid-dejn li Gonzi ghabba fuq il-poplu u ghalhekk min ghandu naqra sens f'mohhu jaf li ghandu jivvota ghal xi hadd aktar responsabbli
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Monique Vella
Tick Tock. Tick Tock. Tick Tock....