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MaltaToday survey | Labour retains lead as swing increases to 9 points

PN attains best result in three years but still fails to dent PL lead.

james
James Debono
16 July 2012, 12:00am
Though the Nationalist Party has scored its best result in three years, the PL has also seen an increase in support among its 2008 voters.
Though the Nationalist Party has scored its best result in three years, the PL has also seen an increase in support among its 2008 voters.


A MaltaToday survey reveals that the swing from the PN to Labour has actually increased from 7 to 9 points. Though the PN scores the highest ever score registered in the past three years of surveys conducted (27%), Labour has retained a substantial 11.7-point lead albeit a small decline of half a point since last month.

This suggests that recent political events have galvanised the Nationalist core vote but have not helped the PN dent Labour's lead. In this month's survey, while 11.3% of PN voters in 2008 said they would vote for the PL (up from 10% last month), only 1.9% of Labour voters in 2008 said they would vote PN, down from 3% last month.



This suggests that the PN has simply gained ground within its pool of voters. In fact, while in June, 62% of PN voters in 2008 said they would vote for the PN again, the percentage of these voters has now risen to 71% thanks to a decline in former PN voters who said they would not be voting in the next election. In fact, the number of PN voters who intend not to vote has decreased by a staggering 7 points in the past month.

Though the Nationalist Party has scored its best result in three years, the PL has also seen an increase in support among its 2008 voters. In fact, the percentage of former Labour voters who would vote again for their party rose from 87% to 90%. This suggests that both parties have entrenched their support in the past weeks. Overall support for the Greens remains at the same levels of the 2008 general election. 

While there has been little change in voting intentions, the survey shows Muscat widening his trust lead over Gonzi from 9 points last month to 12 points now. Muscat also achieves a record trust rating of 44%, the highest in the past two years.

Both leaders remain more popular than their own parties. While Gonzi is 5 points more popular than the PN, Muscat is 6 points more popular than the PL. On his part Gonzi has seen his trust rating increase by one point while Muscat has increased his trust rating by 4 points since last month. On the other hand the percentage of voters who trust neither of the two leaders has declined by 4 points. This could be another indication of a more polarised climate where past supporters are returning to the fold.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat starts as the clear favourite to become the next Prime Minister thanks to a shift of around a tenth of Nationalist voters in 2008 to Labour. 

Pullicino Orlando and Mugliett more trusted by Labourites



Rebel backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, who voted with the Opposition to oust EU ambassador Richard Cachia Caruana, has seen his trust rating increase substantially among Labour voters and decrease substantially among Nationalist voters.

While 42% of Labour voters now trust Pullicino Orlando (up from 22% in November), only 12% of Nationalist voters now trust Pullicino Orlando (down from 31% in November).

Pullicino Orlando has definitely recovered the respect of Labour voters. While back in November 50% of Labour voters distrusted him, only 15% distrust him now. This suggests that among this category of voters, Pullicino Orlando has managed to exorcise the memories of the Mistra scandal and his clashes with Labour leader Alfred Sant through his vote against Cachia Caruana.

Overall, thanks to the surge in support among Labour voters, Pullicino Orlando has seen the number of respondents who trust him increase by 2 points. 



Pullicino Orlando fares better than Franco Debono whose overall trust rating fell by 16 points since November in a survey conducted a month ago in the aftermath of his vote against former Home Affairs Minister Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici.

Even among Nationalist voters, Pullicino Orlando fared better than Debono. While 12% of current Nationalist voters trust Pullicino Orlando, only 4% of current Nationalist voters trusted Debono in last month's survey. 

Both Pullicino Orlando and Debono are distrusted by an absolute majority of current Nationalist voters, 56% in the case of Debono and 51% in the case of Pullicino Orlando.

Jesmond Mugliett - the only one of the three rebels who abstained rather than vote with the opposition - has also seen a massive dip in his trust rating among Nationalist voters. While in November the former minister enjoyed the trust of 42% of Nationalist voters, he now enjoys the trust of just 12% among this segment of the electorate - a dip of 30 points.

But Mugliett is less distrusted among Nationalist voters. While 51% of Nationalist voters distrust Pullicino Orlando, only 42% distrust Mugliett. A quarter of Nationalist voters replied "not quite" when asked if they trust the former minister while another fifth is still undecided.

But like Pullicino Orlando, Mugliett manages to make up for losses among Nationalist voters by gaining more sympathy among Labour voters. Among the latter Mugliett has seen his trust rating increase by a staggering 24 points.

Both Mugliett and Pullicino Orlando enjoy a higher trust rating among PN voters in 2008. Among this category 20% still trust Pullicino Orlando and 24% still trust Mugliett. This category includes Nationalist voters who either intend voting Labour in the next election or who are still undecided. Moreover, while a relative majority of current PN voters (34%) want the three rebel backbenchers expelled from the party, a relative majority of former PN voters oppose the expulsion of the three rebels. This is an indication that current Nationalist voters have closed ranks around the party's leadership and are less likely to tolerate dissent. This also reflects the condemnation of the three MPs by the party's executive.

The survey was carried out before last Thursday's PN executive meeting which decided that the three MPs could not stand for the next general election.

Pullicino Orlando and Mugliett had already declared that they would not be standing for election.

Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 9 July and Thursday 12 July. 776 respondents were contacted by telephone after being chosen from telephone directories.

500 accepted to be interviewed. The results of the survey were weighed to reflect the age and gender balance of the population according to the 2010 demographic review issued by the National Office of Statistics.  The survey has a margin of error of /-4.38%.

james
James Debono is MaltaToday's chief reporter on environment, planning and land use issues, ...
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Yanika Chetcuti
So there are at least 25% who have their fingers in the pie and who believe they will lose substantially with a change of Government. Let us hope they are not simply replaced with a 25% bunch red-hues when the change definitely occurs next elections.