MaltaToday survey | 41% believe present government involved in 'a lot of corruption'

While only 24% think that corruption has lessened since the 2013 general election, 40% think that there is more corruption. 53% believe that there is either 'a lot' or 'quite some corruption' in present government.

james
James Debono
12 February 2017, 7:30am
Last updated on 13 February 2017, 8:25am
40% of Maltese believe corruption has increased since the 2013 election
40% of Maltese believe corruption has increased since the 2013 election
A MaltaToday survey shows that 41% of the Maltese think that there is “a lot of corruption” under the present government. A further 12% think that there is “quite some corruption”, adding up to 53% who think that under the present government there is a considerable amount of corruption. 

Only 12% think that there is no corruption under this government while 29% think that there is a “little” corruption.

Moreover while only 24% think that corruption has lessened since the 2013 general election, 40% think that there is more corruption. 19% think that there is the same amount of corruption as before 2013.

The survey also shows that an absolute majority think that there is corruption in the Planning Authority (56%) and in the award of government contracts (51%) but are less likely to think that there is corruption in the police force (38%) and the judiciary (35%).

But while the survey shows a widespread perception of corruption, it also shows that Simon Busuttil, who has chosen corruption as his main electoral plank, is slightly less trusted than Muscat to address the problem of corruption. Still the difference in trust level between the two leaders is within the margin of error of the survey and the electorate is nearly evenly split in three between those who trust Muscat (30%), those who trust Busuttil (28%) and those who trust neither of the two leaders (27%). Moreover while the last electoral survey conducted by MaltaToday in October showed Muscat leading Busuttil by eight points in overall trust, on the specific issue of corruption Muscat leads Busuttil by only 2.5 points.

Interestingly, the highest percentage of those who trust neither leader is found among those with a university or post secondary education, among whom Busuttil is trusted more than Muscat in fighting corruption.

And while the survey shows a perception of widespread corruption in the country, when asked to state which is the most important electoral issue between corruption, their own personal income and the economy, only 16% chose corruption. 

But the percentage who choose corruption increases to 33% among switchers and to 30% among the university educated.

Less than half of Labour voters believe there is less corruption

The survey shows that the belief that corruption is widespread is not limited to PN voters in 2013. 

In fact 12% of PL voters in 2013 think that there is “a lot of corruption” under Labour while 17% think that there is quite some corruption. Labour voters were the most likely to say that there is a little corruption. But only 25% of this category of voters think that there is no corruption under Labour. 

Moreover fewer than half of Labour voters (48%) believe that corruption has decreased since 2013 while 14% think that it has actually increased.

But while only 5% of PL voters trust Busuttil more than Muscat in fighting corruption, a substantial 22% of PL voters trust neither of the two leaders. 

Significantly, concern about corruption is higher among switchers – PN voters in 2008 who voted PL in 2013. 

Only 33% of switchers think corruption has lessened post-2013 while 47% actually think it has actually gone up. The survey suggests that on this issue this category remains sceptical about both political leaders. In fact 47% trust neither leader on this issue, while 27% trust Muscat and 20% trust Busuttil. Switchers are also the most likely to consider corruption more important than other issues, such as the economy and personal income. 

Switchers are even more likely to consider corruption the most important electoral issue than PN voters. While PN voters in 2013 are the most likely to think there is a lot of corruption (80%), 22% of these voters trust neither leader on this issue.

Perception of corruption higher among the more educated 

The survey shows that the more educated respondents are the more likely to think that corruption is widespread. While 57% of the university educated think there is a “lot” of corruption under the present government, only 37% of those with a secondary level of education believe likewise.

The university educated are also the most likely to think that corruption has increased post-2013. Among this category 60% think that there is more corruption since 2013. This view is expressed by only 35% of those with a secondary education. Respondents who did not make it to university but have followed a post secondary course are the most likely to think that corruption is at the same levels as before 2013. In fact 34% of this category express this view.

Simon Busuttil is more trusted in fighting corruption by respondents with a university and a post secondary education while Joseph Muscat is more trusted among those with a secondary and primary level of education. But the highest level of mistrust in both leaders is also found in the two more educated categories. Among those with a university education only 13% trust Muscat in fighting corruption compared to 34% who trust Busuttil. But 36% do not trust either of the two leaders. 

The university educated are also the most likely to consider corruption as more important than personal income and the economy. Among this category 30% express this view compared to only 14% of those with a secondary education. 

Clientelism more rife in Gozo

Having the assistance of a political saint in finding a job is more important in Gozo than in Malta. A comparison with a survey held in Gozo a month ago shows that while 29% of Gozitans consider the help of a politician “very important”, only 14% of the Maltese express the same view.

And while 20% of the Maltese think that the help of politicians is not at all important in finding a job, only 6% of Gozitans believe likewise.

The Maltese are also slightly more likely to think that contracts, permits and government jobs are awarded on the basis of merit. But a substantial 42% of the Maltese (compared to 53% of Gozitans) believe that the intercession of a politician helps.

But the Maltese are slightly more likely than Gozitans to think that post-2013 it has become easier to find the help of politicians in the award of contracts, permits and government jobs. While only 18% of the Maltese, compared to 22% of Gozitans, believe that seeking political assistance in such matters has become more difficult, 27% of Maltese compared to 25% of Gozitans believe that this has become easier.

Strong perception of corruption in planning

The survey shows that 56% believe that there is corruption in the Planning Authority. Only 12% believe that there is no corruption in this institution, which was specifically set up to put an end to ministerial discretion in planning, which led to cases of corruption in the 1980s. 

A majority of 51% also believe that there is corruption in the award of government contracts. Only 12% believe that there is no corruption in this sector. 

The survey shows a lower perception of corruption in the judiciary and the police force. Still, a substantial 38% believe that there is corruption in the police force, while 35% believe that there is corruption in the judiciary.

Methodology

The survey was held between Monday 6 and Thursday 9 February. A total of 801 respondents were contacted by telephone, of whom 600 accepted to participate. 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, ...