MaltaToday survey - Labour regains lost ground, leads PN by 11 points

Muscat’s trust rating at 11 points plus

James Debono
13 January 2013, 12:00am
Labour leader Joseph Muscat enjoys higher trust ratings. Photo - Ray Attard/Mediatoday
Labour leader Joseph Muscat enjoys higher trust ratings. Photo - Ray Attard/Mediatoday

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The first days of the campaign have seen the PL increasing its lead over the PN from eight points in a survey held two weeks before Christmas, to 11 points.

The survey was held among 750 respondents between Monday and Thursday. Both major parties have seen an increase in their support since December, however Labour gained 7 points and the PN only gained 4 points.

The survey coincided with Labour's presentation of its core campaign theme: its plan to decrease utility bills.

Labour is now just one point short of the 12-point lead it had in October. The gap had narrowed by 4 points following the financial budget, and the election of Simon Busuttil as PN deputy leader.

The latest survey suggests that the election of new deputy leader Louis Grech after Anglu Farrugia's resignation and the PL's tempestuous launch of its electoral campaign have reversed the decline seen in the previous month.

The survey also shows Muscat retaining his 10-point trust lead over Gonzi even if both leaders have seen their rating increase by a similar margin. The swing of voters from the PN to the PL has also increased from 8 points to 10 points.  

Five years ago the trust rating between Alfred Sant and Lawrence Gonzi was 28.2 versus 31.2. No political leader has won an election with his trust rating lower than his adversary.

Support for the Greens has remained practically in the same level as last time while the percentage of people who intend not voting has dropped to the lowest mark in the past year - 2.6%. 

The percentage of undecided has decreased by 9 points.

In this survey Labour registers the same level of support enjoyed in August but its support remains a bit lower than its peak levels registered in September and October.

The only positive news for the PN coming from this survey is a surge in its support among younger voters.  Among this category support for the PN increased by a staggering 14 points, nearly levelling with Labour which has also increased its support in this category by 5 points.

This may suggest that the PN's emphasis on the social media is paying off. But the PL still enjoys a 3 point lead among this category.

The advances made by both major parties among this category came as a result of 7 point drop in those who intend not to vote and an 11 point drop in the percentage of those who are either undecided or would not reveal their voting intention.

On the other hand Labour has seen a 10 point surge in support among over 55 year olds while the PN registered the same level of support.  In the previous survey the PN had levelled with Labour in this category.

The situation among the 35 to 54 age group has remained stable with the PN losing 1 point and the PL winning 2 points.

AD's support remains marginally stronger among younger voters.

PN still losing one tenth of its voters

The survey shows the PN losing 11.3% of its 2008 voters to Labour up from 9.6% in the latest survey.  The percentage of PN voters shifting to Labour has remained the same.

This means the swing between the two major parties is equivalent to 9.8% up from 8% last month.

The survey also shows the PL retaining more of its 2008 voters than in December up from 85% to 95%.  This is a clear indication that the party has not been damaged by the forced resignation of former deputy leader Anglu Farrugia.  It also indicates that Muscat's shift to the ideological centre and his inclusive appeal has not perturbed Labour's traditional voters.

AD retains most of its 2008 voters but gains nothing from Labour and  only 1% of PN voters in the previous election.

Leaders boost trust rating

Both Lawrence Gonzi and Joseph Muscat have seen their trust rating increasing by 4.8 points and 4.2 points respectively.  The gains made by both leaders corresponds to a 11 point drop in the percentage of those who trust neither leader.

The survey also indicates an educational divide with Gonzi enjoying his highest trust rating among university educated voters while Muscat registering the highest trust rating among secondary and primary educated respondents opting for Muscat with a very wide margin.

Significantly those with a post-secondary education are nearly evenly split with Gonzi enjoying a small advantage.  

The survey was held between Monday 7 January and Thursday 10 December. A total of 921 respondents were randomly chosen from telephone directories and contacted by telephone. Of these 750 accepted to be interviewed.  Results were weighed to reflect the age and sex balance of population. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3.6%.

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