MaltaToday survey | PN leads by two points in Gozo

A MaltaToday survey has found that Labour is losing 10% of its 2013 voters to the PN, but these gains are nowhere near the full strength the PN enjoyed in 2008

james
James Debono
29 January 2017, 7:15am
Last updated on 30 January 2017, 7:35am
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
Opposition leader Simon Busuttil
The Nationalist Party enjoys a small two-point lead over the Labour Party in Gozo, a MaltaToday survey conducted among 600 Gozitan respondents shows. 

While 31% of voters intend to vote PN, 29% intend to vote for the PL and a third of respondents are either undecided or refused to reveal their voting intentions. Nearly seven per cent will not vote.

Gozo, where the PN has seen its vote share slump from 55% in 2008 to 50% in 2013 and Labour increase its share from 43% in 2008 to 49% in 2013, is considered to be a very strategic district which could determine the outcome of the next general election. 

An extrapolation of the results based only on the intentions of respondents who have made up their mind on who to vote for puts the PN at 51% and the PL at 48%. 

This suggests that the PN has gained ground over the 2013 election result but has still not recovered its 2008 level of support.

The survey suggests that the electorate in this strategic locality remains highly volatile.

The survey shows Labour losing 10% of its 2013 voters to the PN and the PN losing 7% of its 2013 voters to the PL. The survey suggests that while making gains over 2013, the PN has still not recovered its full strength of 2008. 

An extrapolation of the result would put the PN at 51% and Labour at 48%.

When asked to rate the performance of the two political leaders by a score of between 1 and 5, Joseph Muscat gets a slightly better mean score of 3.1 compared to Busuttil’s 2.9. 

The survey shows that jobs, the lack of a bridge or tunnel connecting the two islands and the state of the roads are the three major concerns of Gozitan voters.

Majority of switchers going back to PN

The survey shows that 56% of Gozitan switchers (PN voters in 2008 who voted PL in 2013) have gone back to the PN while 31% will vote Labour again. 

But these gains by the PN are offset by 7% of PN voters in 2013 who will now vote PL. This suggests that in Gozo Labour is still making inroads among traditional PN voters.

Disgruntled PL voters not switching

Respondents were also asked whether they regret the way they had voted in the 2013 general election.

The survey shows that 16% of PL voters in 2013 regret their choice. Only 5% of PN voters replied that they regret their choice. But when asked how they would vote 7% of PN voters in 2013 would now vote PL while 10% of PL voters would vote PN. This shows that not all those regretting voting Labour are switching to the PN. It also shows that the PN is losing some voters who do not regret voting PN in 2013.

Lack of tunnel is greatest personal problem

Respondents were also asked to mention the problem which affects them directly on a personal level and which deserves to be prioritised by the government. The lack of a bridge or tunnel is the most pressing issue, followed by roads and jobs.

Respondents were also asked which party is best to address this problem. They were more likely to think the PL can solve problems related to jobs and connectivity but less likely to solve the roads problem.

Respondents were asked to state which is the greatest problem facing Gozo. The most pressing concerns emerging from the survey are jobs (24%) followed by the lack of a bridge or tunnel (18%) and the state of the roads (17.4%).

While they are slightly more likely to believe that the PN can address jobs and the state of roads, they are more likely to believe that the PL can solve the problem of connecting the two islands. 

A comparison of a survey held in December 2015 shows that concern on both health and jobs has increased by six points.

Muscat gets higher score than Busuttil

Respondents were asked to give a score from 1 to 5 to both political leaders, one being the lowest and five the highest. The survey shows Joseph Muscat getting an average score of 3.1 and Simon Busuttil a score of 2.9. 

The survey shows 26% giving full marks to Muscat compared to 18% giving full marks to Busuttil.

Muscat also gets an average of 4.6 among current Labour voters compared to Busuttil’s 4.1 score among current PN voters, but Busuttil gets a slightly better score among switchers than Muscat.

The survey was held between Monday, January 9 and Friday 13, 2017. 909 respondents all hailing from Gozo participated. The survey was stopped when a 600 quota sample of completed questionnaires was reached. The survey has a margin of error of +/-4 points. 

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