MaltaToday Survey | Traffic tops list of Maltese concerns

Sharp increase in concern about the environment and corruption as concern about the cost of living, jobs and energy reach all time low

james
James Debono
13 September 2015, 9:00am
MaltaToday Survey • Top Concerns September 2015 | Create infographics
Traffic has once again overtaken migration as the top concern of the Maltese, a survey carried out by MaltaToday in the last week of August shows.

The latest survey registered a sharp increase in concern about the environment and corruption, with concern on both issues registering the highest ever rise in MaltaToday surveys carried out since 2006.

In the survey, 500 respondents contacted by telephone were asked to name the two most serious problems facing the country.

Although concern on immigration has dipped by five points, a fifth of the Maltese still consider immigration as a major concern despite a lull in migrant arrivals.

Traffic had already emerged as Malta’s top concern in November 2014, when it overtook migration for the first time since 2013. But the present survey, carried out in August before the traffic chaos that will mark the re-opening of schools, suggests that problem has aggravated in the past months.

The survey also suggests a dramatic shift in the mood of the Maltese. Prior to the 2013 general election, Malta’s main concerns were the cost of living and utility bills, two issues which have been completely eclipsed by traffic, roads, the environment and corruption.

The spike in concern on environmental issues comes in the wake of protests by environmentalists on the American University of Malta at Zonqor, and mounting concerns about the demerger of the Malta Environment and Planning Authority.

The rising concern on corruption follows news of a land swap deal for Marco Gaffarena by the Lands Department, which triggered repeated allegations of corruption by the Opposition and two parallel investigations by the National Audit Office and the Internal Audit Investigations Department. This suggests that while the present government is seen to have addressed concerns on bread and butter issues, its policies are creating serious concern about the environment and corruption.   

On the other hand, in a clear indication that the public has a positive perception of the country’s economic direction, only 2% expressed any concern about economic issues. The survey also registers the lowest concern about jobs since March 2014. Since then concern on jobs has decreased from 21% to just 3% now. 

Rising concern on traffic may reflect the worsening gridlock situation on Maltese roads. But it could also reflect a lack of concern on other issues which dominated surveys in the past. Moreover, transport-related issues also feature in the list of concerns mentioned by respondents – a staggering 16% referred to the state of the roads, 7% referred to the state of public transport while 4% referred to parking.

The biggest percentage-point increase over January was registered by respondents mentioning the state of the roads (+11.6), the environment (+8) and corruption (+7).

The greatest decline in the level of concern was registered by respondents mentioning the cost of living as their main concern (-9).

The survey shows that traffic registers the highest level of concern among the university-educated while concern on immigration is highest among the secondary- and primary-educated. Concern on corruption and the environment is also highest among the university- and post secondary-educated but significantly lower among other educational cohorts. Among the university-educated concern on the environment emerges as the second greatest concern after traffic.

Methodology

The survey was conducted between Monday, 17 August and Tuesday, 25 August. 883 phone calls were made in which 500 accepted to participate. The survey was stopped when the 500 quota of completed surveys was reached. The survey’s margin of error is estimated to be ±4.4

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