MaltaToday Survey | Concern on corruption hits an all-time high

MaltaToday's survey shows an increase in concern on parking and crime, while confirming traffic as the most pressing concern

james
James Debono
19 March 2017, 7:30am
Last updated on 20 March 2017, 7:37am
MaltaToday survey shows that public concern on corruption continues to grow
MaltaToday survey shows that public concern on corruption continues to grow
MaltaToday Survey | Major Concerns • March 2017
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A MaltaToday survey shows that concern on corruption has reached an all-time high, being mentioned by 30% of respondents.

This represents a 12-point increase over the figures for last October. Concern on traffic remains the most pressing issue but has declined by five points since October and is now nearly at par with corruption.

Respondents were asked to name the two greatest problems facing the country, without being prompted with a list of answers.

The survey also shows a nine-point increase in concern on parking which has now surpassed concern on the cost of living and immigration. This may reflect the impact of rampant development in towns and villages on scarce parking space.

The survey also shows a six-point increase in concern on crime which came in the aftermath of two incidents in January and February involving car bombs.

It also shows a one-point increase in concern on the Panama Papers affair in the aftermath of the Pana committee visit, which was mentioned by 5% of respondents.

The survey shows that concern on over-development has overtaken concern on the environment in general. While 4% are concerned with over-development, only 3.5% expressed a generic concern on the environment. But overall the survey shows a 6-point drop in concern over environmental issues. 

Traffic tops the concern of all categories of respondents, except for PN voters, among whom corruption remains the top concern. Among PN voters in 2013 concern on corruption has increased by 29 points. The surveys shows that for 29% of switchers (voters who voted PN in 2008 and PL in 2013) corruption is one of the two main problems facing the country. 

Although nearly two-thirds of those who mention corruption as a main issue are PN voters, concern on corruption has also increased by three points for PL voters, 12% of whom consider corruption as one of the main problems facing the country.

Concern on corruption has also increased by six points among switchers, by 11 points among non-voters and by five points among the undecided. Moreover corruption is also mentioned as a pressing concern by nearly 60% of former Labour voters who have now switched to the PN.

The survey, which comes in the wake of revelations on donations made by db Group to the PN, also shows Labour voters more likely to mention the Opposition as one of the country’s two greatest problems. Among PL voters the level of concern on the opposition is second only to traffic. This concern is also found among a tenth of switchers.

The survey shows a fifth of Labour voters expressing this concern, 12 points up from October. Labour voters are also more likely to mention traffic and parking as their main concerns while PN voters are more likely to mention corruption. 

Concern on over-development is markedly higher among PN voters. Concern on traffic and parking are also higher among presently undecided voters. 

On the other hand concern on immigration has dropped by 10 points among Labour voters and by five points overall.

The survey indicates that the cost of living is the most pressing bread and butter issue, rising by two points to 10%. But concern on low income has dropped by three points. Once again the survey indicates that bread and butter concerns have been eclipsed by the concerns related to governance and traffic. Only 1.4% expressed a concern on the economy and jobs.

The rise of traffic and corruption as main concerns 

A comparison of surveys conducted in the past two years shows that traffic has consistently dominated the list of concerns, with concern rising from just 7% in March 2014, to 24% in January 2016, and 37% in October. It has now fallen to 31%. 

Concern about corruption rose from 0% to 7% after the Gaffarena scandal, to 14% just before Panamagate and to 18.2% in October. It has now gone up to 30%. 

Immigration remained one of the top two concerns between March 2014 and January 2016, only to drop to fourth place in May and September last year and to sixth place now.

Concern on low income has surpassed concern about jobs, which dropped from 21% in 2014 to 1.4% now, while low income and the cost of living remains relatively high at 6% and 10% respectively.

And a comparison with surveys held before the 2013 general election shows a sharp change in the concerns of the public: concern on utility bills peaked at 50% in February 2010, but less than 1% express this concern now.

On the other hand concern on corruption, which never surpassed the 3% mark between 2008 and 2013, has now hit the 30% mark.

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