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[SURVEY] The gap narrows but Labour still in lead, Gonzi trust rating up

Joseph Muscat leads Gonzi by seven points | PL retains nine-point advantage over the PN |PN closes gap by five points since March when the PL led by staggering 14 points.

James Debono
21 May 2012, 12:00am
The smell of an election, and more people are starting to make their minds up: Lawrence Gonzi's (pictured) trust rating has increased by four points since April 2012.
PN continues to reduce swing to Labour | Gonzi recovers lost ground | FULL DATA | Methodology


Survey highlights
  • Gonzi's trust rating increases by 5 points among undecided voters
  • PL leading PN by 9 points, down five since April when PL led by 14 points
  • Survey shows 6.6-point swing in favour of Labour down 11 points since March
  • 3.4% of PL voters in 2008 would vote PN
  • 10% of PN voters in 2008 would vote PL
  • 4% of PL voters in 2008 trust Gonzi more than Muscat
  • 12% of PN voters in 2008 trust Muscat more than Gonzi



PN continues to reduce swing to Labour


At 25%, the PN has recovered the level of support it had in January, when the party was faced with the prospect of an early election.

On the other hand, with the exception of a spike in support before March's local council elections, support for Labour has remained stable over the past months between 34% and 35%.

Support for the greens also remained stable at 1.5%, slightly higher than the level of support enjoyed by AD in the 2003 general election. With the exception of a spike in support before local elections in March, support for the greens has hovered between 1.1% and 1.5% over the past year.

Respondents were also asked for which party they had voted in 2008.

A comparison between present voting intentions and past voting records still shows a substantial shift of voters from the PN to Labour.

While 10% of respondents who voted PN in 2008 would now vote Labour, 3.4% of PL voters in 2008 would now vote PN. This results in a 6.6-point swing from PN to PL. 

This suggests that although the swing to Labour remains substantial, the PN has partly reduced the haemorrhage.

In fact, the percentage of PN voters intent on voting Labour next time round has decreased from 12% in March to 10% now.

Significantly, the number of PL voters intent on voting PN next time round has increased from a sheer 1% in March to 3.4% now. This is the highest shift from PL to PN registered in the past months, up from 2.9% in April. 

This suggests that although the swing to Labour remains substantial, for the second consecutive time the  PN is partly compensating its losses to Labour by attracting a smaller number of 2008 Labour voters.

In the face of a massive and consistent swing from the PN to Labour, attracting some support from former Labour voters and winning a majority of new voters is vital for the PN's chances.

Moreover, since April the number of PN voters in 2008 who intend not to vote in the next election has dropped by three points.

But the Labour vote remains more compact than the Nationalist voter. While 80% of  Labour voters in 2008 declare that they would vote for the PL again, only 61% of PN voters in 2008 would vote for their party again.

Gonzi recovers lost ground

Overall, Muscat still enjoys a substantial eight-point advantage over Gonzi when respondents were asked which of the two leaders they trust most.

But after peaking with a trust rating of 44% in March before the local council elections, Muscat's popularity has dipped following the Easter break and the subsequent vote in parliament.

Muscat, who had already lost four points between March and April, has lost another point in the past month. But Muscat still registers a higher trust rating than that registered in January.

One worrying sign for Muscat is the four-point increase in the percentage of Labour voters in 2008, who now trust neither of the two political leaders.

On the other hand, although Gonzi has seen his trust rating increase substantially over past month, his popularity remains significantly lower than the record 35% registered in January, when the country seemed to be heading for an imminent general election after Franco Debono openly called for the Prime Minister's resignation. 

Subsequently, Gonzi's popularity dipped by six points as the government survived a confidence vote thanks to the Speaker's casting vote, and the PM embarked on an unpopular one-man contest in his party. 

But the latest survey result indicates that Gonzi is back in the loop, scoring his second-best trust rating since 2008 and closing the gap with the Opposition leader.

One bad omen for the PM is that the percentage of former PN voters who trust Muscat more than Gonzi is slightly higher than the number of former PN voters who would now vote Labour.

While 10% of PN voters in 2008 would now vote Labour, nearly 12% trust Muscat more than Gonzi.

On the other hand, while 3.4% of 2008 PL voters would vote PN now, 4% prefer Gonzi to Muscat.

The survey shows that while Gonzi has seen his trust rating increase among non-committed voters, a category includes those who intend not to vote in the forthcoming election, those who are undecided and those who would not reveal their voting intentions.

This could be an indication that a number of voters who have not yet made up their mind about who to vote for in the next election are inclined to trust the Nationalist Party leader. This suggests that the gap between the two parties will be narrowed as trust in Gonzi is translated in support for the PN as the election approaches. But this could not be enough to compensate for the shift of voters from the PN to Labour.

Among this strategic category, while Gonzi has seen his trust rating increase by five points, Muscat has lost three points since April.

The survey confirms that both leaders are more popular than their respective parties. While 25% would vote for the PN, 32% have a greater trust in Gonzi. Moreover, while 34% would vote for the Labour Party, nearly 40% prefer Muscat to Gonzi.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi has seen his trust rating increase by four points after surviving a decisive budget implementation bill, which saw his government re-compacting its parliamentary majority after rebel backbencher Franco Debono voted with the government and softened his stance.

Voters have rewarded Gonzi's decision to call Debono's bluff, where the PM forced a vote on 9 May before forthcoming votes of censure in Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici, as initially requested by Debono.

On the other hand, Joseph Muscat has practically retained the same level of trust as last month, losing less than a point. But Muscat has seen a six-point dip in his trust rating since March. 

But the eight-point gap between the two leaders could still be too wide to be ever overturned by the Prime Minister, who clearly starts the race as the underdog.

Gonzi remains in the loop after closing the gap by more than six points since March.

Significantly, the trust gap between the two leaders is smaller than that between the two parties, which stands at nearly 10 points.

Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 14 May and Thursday 17 May. 854  respondents were randomly chosen from on-line and printed telephone directories, 600  persons accepted to be interviewed. The results of the survey were weighed to reflect the gender and age balance found in the 2010 demographic review. The survey has a margin of error of  /-4%.



James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
louis fenech
@franco - kemm hadta bi kbira l-ahbar tal-artklu ta james. sal elezzjoni ir rota trid iddur l-aktar bl-izbalji li qed jiehu joseph muscat u shabu. aktar ma il partit laburista jipprova ihammeg lil partit nazzjonalista u jressaq mozzjonijiet ta sfiducja aktar il partit nazzjonalist johrog b'sahhtu.
Jes Abela
@ BAGLU int fejn qied tghix? Italja jaqaw jew Lingilterra. Mur emmnek li int ex PN ...... LOL. B'hekk trid timpressjona kitbitek fejn tghi li int ex nazzjonalist imbaghad isemmi il kontijiet tad dawl. Is socjalisti dejjem f'butom hasbu u qatt ma impurtom minn pajjizhom.
Joseph azzopardi
Il- poplu mhux iblah u mhux ser jerga jafda lill- minn ghamel weghdi fierha fit- 2008. Il- PL ser jirbah l- elezzjoni ghax b' Joseph Muscat bhala mexxej dinamiku qed jirnexxielu jigbed lejh ex- Nazzjonalisti bhali. Bit tgergir biss ma tigiex il- bidla li tant jehtieg dan il- pajjiz mghaffeg taht kontijiet tad- dawl u l-ilma esagerati, fuel, bolla zejda u nuqqas ta' xoghol. Il- bidla ssehh biss meta nivvotaw ghaliha. Hafna ex- Nazzjonalisti qed jgharfu dan u ser jafdaw lill Joseph Muscat tigi meta tigi l- Elezzjoni.
Jes Abela
It tellieq sal barkun ...... u ma nihu xejn bi kbir li lejber jerga jitlef elezzjoni ohra . Dan il partit huwa tal misthija li wara dawn is snin kollha fl oppozzijoni ghadu mhux lest biex jiggverna u mghandux proposti cara ghal pajjizna. DR Adrian Vassallo huwa xhieda perfetta ta dan kollu. Hawn certu laburisti pampaluni bahs sur Privitera li ghandu jkun ghadu jahseb qied jghix taht il hakma u regim tas socjalizmu meta Prim kien hemm KMB u qable l-elezzjoni ta 1987 li baqa ikaxkar bija sa lahahr gurnata li seta dahhal 8000 ruh mal gvern. Wake up and get real please u tkomplux taqaw izjed ghan nejk.
m borg
@james debono .... I do not hold to any percentages or lead points, in fact I think polls are a waste of people's time when they are about elections. I know for sure that polls that do not come up with the desired results are conducted over and over again until they satisfy the client. As a previous call center aquaintance I should know something about polls, but that is as far as I will let on.
yan borg
u jerga jigi iz zmien meta il pn jerga jirbah l elezzjoni. il poplu jaf il il pn mhux perfett, imma ma jafdax il ilejber fil gvern.
James Debono
@Franco 1) Before 2008 MaltaToday was the only news organisation to publish surveys both before and during electoral campaign. That was a big credibility test. The surveys showed labour enjoying an a sizeable advantage before electoral campaign commenced. But by the end of the campaign MT surveys showed the PN winning. The survey was vindicated by the result as were the MEP election results and the divorce referendum result. 2. But contrary to the pre 2008 surveys which showed Gonzi being consistently more trusted than Alfred Sant, MT surveys have consistently showed Joseph Muscat being more trusted than Gonzi. The survey also shows the PL benefiting from a bigger swing of 6.6%. Since PN starts this election with a sheer 1500 advantage, such a swing is more than indicative. 3. Expecting Labour to retain a 12-14 point lead on the PN right to the last day could be a bit unrealistic especially when one considers that the gap between the two parties in a real election has never surpassed 4%. I would expect the gap to narrow as election approaches. Obviously in politics one cannot exclude anything. @edjoyce: Like any other politicians trailing in the polls Gonzi can be described as an underdog. That does not mean that he does not have power of incumbency.
m borg
James this article is a copy of Xarabank's manouvers. When elections are announced Peppi holds a poll which conveniently puts labour ahead then as the weeks roll by the polls start changing with gonzipn/pn closing the gap until they come aheadat the end. Seen itall before James it's old crap.Try to be more original.By the way Xarabank are being very cautious now knowing too well they'll grovelling soon to keep they place.
Tony Fenech
Il media tal PN bit TVM ghanda hafna influwenza fuq il Poplu. Meta qed naqra kumment il bierah li la jitla il labour sejjer igib id-deserta u Chokita, nibda nghid imma bis-serjeta dan l-individwu jibqa jxewwex hekk. Ma qalx li l-PN bieh L-assi kolla ta Malta , ghamel dejn ta €5biljuni u fejn marru dawn ghax ghandi ma gewx zgur, hlief inhallas kontijiet gholja biex haddiehor jitpaxxa. Almenu meta kien hawn il-Pl kien imisni bicca, kif inhu suppost imma issa nghati jien niex haddiehor igawdi b'xi mobile jew karozza lussusa u ohrajn b'jobs li ma jisthoqqielomx l-anqas karlin. Jien ma nafx imma ghad hawn nies li jaqblilom ghax parti mil klikka.
m borg
Oh just realised, it's a James Debono article as trust worthy as gonzi's promises.
m borg
Just make the poll when the electricity bills are issued.
Mark Borg
Dan James Debono manafx minn fejn igibhom kultant. Gonzi 'underdog'? Jaf x'inhu jghid jew? Tajba din. Taghmel dawk il-pjaciri kolla minn flusna, u jsejjahlek 'underdog'! Hemm xi haga li miniex nifhem. Forsi s-Sur Debono jikteb artiklu iehor u jispjegalna ftit lilna c-cwiec il-ghala oghgbu jsejjah lil Gonzi 'underdog'.
charlie borg
Daz-zgur li jitla ir-rating tal-PN,daqs dawk pjaciri li qed jaghmel GONZIPN.Tghid veru il-poplu malti cuc u jaqa ghal dawn il-hnizrijiet ????
Peter Bbarbara
@Toninu Qed thallat....inti hekk tahseb ??! Kemm qed taghmilhom semplici in-nies !
eddy privitera
How come James Debono says that Lawrence Gonzi"clearly starts the race as the underdog " when he knows that GonziPn has the power of incumbency, and would do anything to grapple on to power at all costs, as they did- and much, much more - in 2008 ?
joey grech
Dawn is survey's ma JISWEW XEJN ghax dawn lil min STAQSEW ? Hafna min in nies biex ma JIGUX IMMARKATI jghidu mod u wara jghamlu iehor
Toninu
Spejgazzjoni semplici. Dr.Gonzi fil-publiku iddikjara hekk.........Itolbuni dak li tridu u natihulkhom, naturalment mit-taxxi migbura minnha ilkoll.
godwin scerri
DAN GONZI JEW KRISTU RXGHOXT.TIJATRIN HAD MA JERBAHLU LI GONZI