Gozo - The battle for the third seat

How does the line-up of MPs for the sister island look in the event of a Labour victory?

james
James Debono
14 August 2012, 12:00am
Clockwise from left: Gozo minister Giovanna Debono, Labour MP Anton Refalo, Justice minister Chris Said, Labour MP Justyne Caruana, Nationalist MP Frederick Azzopardi - possible the weakest link on the constituency - and Labour candidate Franco Mercieca.
Clockwise from left: Gozo minister Giovanna Debono, Labour MP Anton Refalo, Justice minister Chris Said, Labour MP Justyne Caruana, Nationalist MP Frederick Azzopardi - possible the weakest link on the constituency - and Labour candidate Franco Mercieca.
MaltaToday's latest survey on Gozo doe not suggest any change in the current line-up ofMPs if the PN thwarts Labour's bid for a third Gozitan seat.

Although the survey shows Labour newcomer Franco Mercieca, a respected ophthalmologist, making a strong showing in his first electoral experience, he still trails second place to Justyne Caruana by nine points. While 18% of Labour voters intend to vote for the eye specialist, 27% intend to vote for Caruana. Anton Refalo leads the race with 30%.

But although Refalo starts the race as the PL's front-runner, Justyne Caruana is more trusted than the Labour veteran as an MP.

On the PN front, Gozo Minister Giovanna Debono confirms her standing as the party's front-runner, 16 points ahead of Social Policy Minister Chris Said. Frederick Azzopardi is far behind the Cabinet members, attracting the support of a mere 4% of PN voters.

This suggests that the third placed PN candidate is the party's weakest link in the district. Significantly, 32% of PN voters compared to 25% of PL voters did not reveal for which candidate they intend voting for.

Although Said has not managed to dent Giovanna Debono's electoral lead, he trails the Gozo Minister by just two points, as Gozo's second most trusted MP among all voters.     

In fact Said, manages to attract the respect of a number of Labour voters. In an indication of his ability to reach out to voters on the other side, he is considered to be the most trusted MP by 6% of Labour voters.

Significantly, although Labour enjoys a small lead over the PN in Gozo, its current MPs are only trusted by 25% of voters while 33% of Gozitan respondents put their trust in Nationalist MPs.

Moreover, while Labour MPs enjoy the trust of only 1% of Nationalist voters, the three Nationalist MPs enjoy the trust of a tenth of Labour voters.

This suggests that the PN starts the race with an advantage over Labour, that of having two widely respected heavyweights like Giovanna Debono and Chris Said as its front-runners. Both seem to outshine Labour's two sitting MPs.

The results also suggest that Labour could be winning by default rather than conviction. This is further confirmed by the fact that Labour trails behind the PN when it comes to support for its policies for Gozo.



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