Despite lull in arrivals migration is Malta’s top concern again

Concern on petrol prices increases by 10 points

james
James Debono
27 January 2015, 7:25am
Major concerns • MaltaToday survey |Create infographics
Despite a lull in migrant arrivals before last Thursday concern on immigration has risen by four points since November.

2014 saw the number of migrants reaching the Maltese coast decreasing from 2008 in 2013 to 568 in 2014.

Despite decreasing numbers immigration has overtaken traffic, which was the top concern in the November survey. Concern on traffic remains high but has declined by seven points since November when it peaked at 23%.

Respondents were asked to mention the two main problems facing the country.

The biggest percentage point increase over November was registered by respondents mentioning petrol prices as a major concern. Concern about petrol prices has risen from 0% in November to 10% now.  Concern on petrol prices is just two points lower than that on the cost of living.  

The survey was conducted before the PN launched its fuel website, which claims to calculate the amount the government ‘steals’ every time people buy fuel.

Despite the absence of any boat arrivals in the past months concern on migration has gone up by eight points since March 2014. 

The survey shows that concern on traffic has gone down from the record levels registered in November but remains substantially higher than in March.

While in March only 7% mentioned traffic as one of the two main problems facing the country, the percentage has now risen to 16%.

Moreover 4% and 8% of respondents mentioned roads and public transport respectively as their main concerns.

The survey shows that 28% of respondents mentioned at least one issue related to transport.  

On the other hand the survey shows concern on jobs falling from 21% in March to just 7%. This suggests that most Maltese do not consider unemployment much of a problem, reflecting statistics showing an increase in employment figures.

Concern about the cost of living has been stable at 12% over the past year. 

In the wake of delays on the new power station, concern on energy issues had also shot up from 3% in March to 7% in November.  But concern on energy issues has now fallen back to 2%.

Concern on the environment (mostly on development issues) has remained stable at five points, slightly higher than in November but three points lower than in March 2014. 

One in three Labour voters concerned by migration

Labour voters are more likely to be concerned about traffic and immigration but are less likely as PN voters to be concerned with petrol prices.

Immigration tops the concern list of both PN and PL voters.

But while 21% of PN voters list migration between their top two concerns, 33% of PL voters do likewise.

Concern on traffic is also six points higher among PL voters.

One reason for this could be that PL voters are less likely to mention problems which can be blamed on the government of the day. Problems like roads, traffic and to a certain extent migration are not directly attributable to the present government.

On the other hand only 4% of PL voters are concerned by higher fuel prices. But the percentage rises to 18 points among PN voters.

This suggests that PN voters are more susceptible to PN propaganda on this issue. 

But concern on fuel prices is also high among undecided respondents, 16% of whom list higher petrol prices as a major concern.

Post secondary educated concerned by petrol prices

Respondents with a post secondary level of education (those who continued studies after secondary level but did not go to university) are the most likely to be concerned by rising petrol prices.

Disgruntlement among this category may be bad news for the government. For it was within this category that a major shift towards the PL occurred before the 2013 general election.

Among this category fuel prices are seen as a major concern by 14% and are only second to immigration. Concern on petrol prices is also high among the university educated (13%) but lower among those with a secondary and primary level of education (7%).

Concern about traffic is highest among the university educated (23%) while that on the cost of living is highest among those with a primary level of education (18%).  Concern on immigration is highest among respondents with a secondary level of education (31%) and lowest among those with a university level of education (16%). Concern on immigration is also particularly high among those with a post secondary level of education (27%).

Methodology

762 respondents were contacted by telephone between Wednesday 7 and Tuesday, 13 January. The survey was stopped when a 500-quota sample was reached.

Respondents were told that MaltaToday was conducting the survey. Its results were weighted to reflect the age and gender balance of the population.The survey has a margin of error of +/-4.4%. Respondents were asked how they voted in the 2008 and 2013 elections.

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