[FULL DATA] No to spring hunting retains 7-point lead

No camp is leading by 6.5 percentage points, down from 6.7 points a fortnight ago.

james
James Debono
5 April 2015, 7:35am
Spring hunting referendum survey • April 2015 | Create infographics
The last MaltaToday survey before next week’s referendum confirms the No camp’s seven-point lead, already registered in two previous surveys, one held in February and another held last month.

The latest survey had a sample of 1,100, up from 600 in the three previous surveys. The greater sample lowers the margin of error from +/- 4 to +/-3 points.

Although the No to spring hunting campaign has retained its solid seven-point lead over the yes camp, the outcome of the referendum remains unclear as 17% of respondents remain undecided. The survey also shows that female voters are more undecided. Labour voters also tend to be more undecided than PN voters.

The survey sees both camps retaining the same level of support as two weeks ago. While support for the no camp decreased by half a point, from 40.2 to 39.7, support for the Yes camp declined by 0.1% from 33.5% to 33.4%.

Undecided voters have increased by 1.2% and non-voters by 0.4%. Non-respondents have decreased by one point.

This means that the No camp is now leading by 6.5 percentage points, down from 6.7 points a fortnight ago.  

The survey shows that 55% of PL voters will be voting ‘yes’, while 67% of PN voters will be voting no.

The survey also shows the Yes camp gaining only one point among Labour voters despite Joseph Muscat’s pro-spring hunting declaration in Gozo two weeks ago.

But the survey shows a six-point drop in support for the No camp among Nationalist voters, which is corresponded by an increase in non-voters.

It also shows the Yes leading only among males aged over 55 years. In all other age groups a majority intends voting ‘no’. Support for the Spring hunting ban is highest among younger females aged between 18 and 34.

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Out of seven MaltaToday surveys on the Spring hunting issue conducted since July, 2013 only one poll showed a majority in favour of retaining the spring hunting derogation.

But surveys carried out by MaltaToday showed support for banning spring hunting decreasing substantially from nearly 60% in July 2013 to 40% now. The first substantial dip in support for a ban in Spring hunting was registered after the MEP elections in June 2014 when support for banning spring hunting fell to 44%.

But support for the ban increased again to 50% in September. Then by the start of the campaign in January support for the no camp fell again to just 39%.

The January poll was the only one in which the Yes camp registered a small one point lead. That survey was held immediately after the announcement of the referendum question.

A survey commissioned by TV programme Xarabank in February had also shown the No camp leading by nine points.

This level of support for the No camp remained constant in MaltaToday surveys held since January while support for the Yes camp decreased from 40% in January to 33% now.

All surveys held in the past month have confirmed the same trends with regard to support for both camps among different categories of voters.

Support for Spring hunting among Labour voters has hovered between 52% and 58% and between 13% and 19% among Nationalist voters. The comparison between voting intentions in the referendum and political opinion is based on how respondents voted in the 2013 general election.

University and post secondary educated respondents have consistently supported banning Spring hunting while females have tended to be more undecided than males.

Indecision higher among Labour voters

The survey still shows a higher percentage of undecided voters on the Labour side. While only 10% of PN voters are undecided the percentage rises to 16% among PL voters, who are also more likely not to vote. While 4% of PN voters will not be voting, the percentage rises to 8% among PL voters.

Since Labour voters tend to be more favourable to spring hunting than PN voters, a surge for the Yes camp in the last few days of the campaign cannot be excluded.

But declarations made by the Prime Minister in favour of Spring hunting in the past weeks do not seem to have had an impact on these voters.

PN voters’ support for the No camp has decreased from a 73% peak registered two weeks ago to 67% now. This means that more than two out of every three Nationalist voters will be voting No. The drop in support for the no camp among PN voters was corresponded by a four point increase in non-voters among this category of voters.

Support for the Yes camp among Labour voters is one point higher than it was a fortnight ago. Support for the No camp has also decreased by a point. Only one-fifth of Labour voters will be voting ‘no’.

This means that the No camp is attracting the support of twothirds of PN voters but is only attracting the support of around one-fifth of PL voters. On the other hand while less than one-fifth of PN voters support spring hunting, more than half of PL voters (55%) think likewise.

The survey also shows that the majority of voters who did not declare their 2013 vote will be voting against spring hunting. In this category 41% will vote no while 24% will vote yes.

40% of those who had not voted in the 2013 election will also vote no while only 20% will vote yes.

A question of age and education

The survey indicates that the younger and the more educated respondents are the more likely to oppose spring hunting. In fact the only groups in favour of Spring hunting are males aged over 55 and respondents who lack a post-secondary level of education.

The survey confirms the strong lead of the No camp among university-educated and post secondary educated voters, a small Yes lead among respondents with a secondary education and a strong Yes lead among respondents with a primary education.

The latest survey shows 64% of university educated respondents opposed to spring hunting. Support for spring hunting is strongest (42%) among those with a primary level of education.

Interestingly the survey shows that young educated females are the most inclined to oppose Spring hunting. Only 23% of females aged under 35 years of age support spring hunting. The percentage in favour of spring hunting increases to 31% among males in the same age bracket.
 Males aged under 35 years of age are the most likely not to vote in the referendum. In this category 13% won’t be voting in the referendum.

Younger females are the most likely to be undecided. Among females aged under 35 years 28% are undecided. Among females aged over 35 one fifth are still undecided.

While the yes camp enjoys a 12-point lead among males aged over 55, the no camp enjoys a four-point lead among females aged over 55 years of age.

This suggests that the attempt by the Yes camp to appeal to female voters by putting females like Kathleen Grima at the forefront of the campaign has not paid off.

Methodology

The survey was held between Wednesday, 25 March and Wednesday, 1 April. A total of 1,572 respondents were contacted by telephone. The survey was stopped when a 1,100 quota sample was reached. The survey has a margin of error of +/-3 percentage points. The results of the survey were weighed to reflect the age and gender balance of the population as registered in the latest census of the Maltese and Gozitan population.

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