MaltaToday Survey | Labour jitters on Robert Abela’s first decisions

A MaltaToday survey carried out last week found that the move to go against the grain may have earned new Labour leader and Prime Minister Robert Abela criticism from Labour supporters but it does not appear to have dented their trust in him

Prime Minister Robert Abela
Prime Minister Robert Abela

The new Labour leader and Prime Minister Robert Abela went against the grain among Labour Party supporters when he stopped the daily clearing of Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memorial.

A MaltaToday survey carried out last week found that the move may have earned him criticism from Labour supporters but it does not appear to have dented their trust in him.

The Prime Minister took the decision soon after entering Castille. On the contrary, Abela’s decision, which would have been forced upon him by the constitutional court had he not acted pre-emptively, appears to have secured him a placeholder among Nationalist Party voters.

Last week, Robert Abela has scored an impressive 62.5% on the trust barometer in the first MaltaToday survey since he became Prime Minister three weeks ago. It was the highest ever achieved by any party leader, putting him a massive 49 points ahead of his rival, Adrian Delia.

Similarly, the decision by Justyne Caruana to resign from minister after revelations that her husband was a close friend of murder suspect Yorgen Fenech, was not welcomed among Labour voters.

Yet, the decision has proved to be popular among the wider population. It has to be seen whether Labour jitters on these initial decisions will translate into internal problems at a later stage but for the time being it seems Abela has managed to ride the crest.

Daphne Caruana Galizia’s memorial

Robert Abela’s decision to stop the clearance of flowers and candles from Daphne Caruana Galizia’s makeshift memorial has not gone down well among Labour voters.

A MaltaToday survey shows that 41.5% of those who voted for the Labour Party in the last general election disagree with the decision taken days after Abela became Prime Minister.

Abela’s decision preceded a constitutional court ruling that found former justice minister Owen Bonnici in breach of human rights for ordering the daily clearance of the makeshift memorial at the foot of the Great Siege monument.

The survey shows that 30.2% of PL voters agree with the Prime Minister’s decision, while 28.3% are unsure of it.

As expected, Abela’s decision is agreeable to a majority of Nationalist Party voters (79.9%). Only 7.8% of PN voters disagree with the Prime Minister.

Support for the decision is highest in Gozo with 62.2% agreeing with the Prime Minister. In the Southern Harbour region – traditional Labour hinterland – 37.3% agree with Abela’s decision, while 32.7% disagree.

Overall, the decision to stop the daily clearance of Caruana Galizia’s Valletta memorial enjoys the support of 51.9% of voters, against 24.6% who disagree and 23.5% who are unsure.

Police commissioner resignation

Lawrence Cutajar’s resignation from police commissioner has been well received across the board, according to the survey.

Overall, 69.6% agree with the resignation that happened in the same week that Robert Abela became Prime Minister.

Only 9.7% disagree with the decision, while 20.7% are unsure about the move.

The resignation is agreeable to 53.7% of those who voted for the Labour Party in 2017, as opposed to 15%, who disagree and 31.3% who are unsure.

After years of calling for Cutajar’s resignation, as expected, 90.2% of PN voters agree with the former police commissioner’s departure. Only 2% of Nationalist voters disagree.

Justyne Caruana’s resignation

Justyne Caruana’s resignation from Gozo minister so soon after her appointment was welcomed by an absolute majority, the MaltaToday survey finds.

Asked whether they agree with Caruana’s resignation, 58.8% answered Yes, with a quarter showing their disapproval with the former minister’s decision.

Caruana stepped down after it was revealed that her husband, former deputy police chief Silvio Valletta, had travelled with Daphne Caruana Galizia murder suspect Yorgen Fenech.

But the survey shows that her decision has split Labour voters down the middle. A relative majority (40.7%) of PL 2017 voters disagree with Caruana’s resignation, as opposed to 37.7% who agree with her decision.

Among PN voters, 84% agree with Caruana’s resignation and only 5.8% are opposed to the decision.

Methodology

The survey was carried out between Tuesday 21 January and Tuesday 28 January. 655 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on gender, region and age was used to replicate the Maltese demographics. The estimated margin of error is 5% for a confidence interval of 95%. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have a larger margin of error.

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