[FULL DATA] How the PN split pits Adrian Delia against his own parliamentary group

Adrian Delia has majority support among PN members but a third want him out • Party members say lack of unity is their biggest concern

Adrian Delia continues to draw on the support of Nationalist Party members with 56.8% saying he should not resign, a MaltaToday survey among tesserati shows.

However, a third of members (33.6%) believe the party leader should resign, with the biggest resistance coming from the 10th electoral district, a traditional PN stronghold.

The survey also shows that Delia enjoys a high trust rating among members, as opposed to his parliamentary group that receives a medium score.

The survey was conducted between Wednesday 12 February and Friday 14, at a time when Delia faced calls for his resignation by some members of his parliamentary group in a rebellion that culminated with the 17 Blue Heroes tag posted by MP Jason Azzopardi.

MaltaToday obtained an anonymised list of party members that included their age, geographic distribution by electoral district and gender.

Delia was elected leader of the PN in September 2017 by party members – the first for any political party – obtaining the support of 52.7%. The survey numbers suggest that Delia’s standing among members has improved slightly since then but continues to face resistance among a vociferous, strong minority within the party’s rank and file.

The survey suggests a split allegiance between PN members in the southern electoral districts and those in the northern areas. Delia enjoys stronger support in the south.

More than 70% of PN members in the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth electoral districts say Delia should not resign. The strong support the PN leader draws from these districts is a reflection of those MPs who have backed him from the start – Stephen Spiteri, Carm Mifsud Bonnici, Hermann Schiavone and Clyde Puli, who were elected in the Second, Fourth, Fifth and Sixth districts in the last general election.

Interestingly, the Fourth District is also home to MP Jason Azzopardi, who has been at loggerheads with his own leader from day one.

In Gozo, the home of Chris Said – Delia’s leadership opponent in the 2017 race – 56.2% of tesserati do not want their leader to resign.

The significant problems Delia faces are in the traditional PN-leaning districts between the Ninth and the Twelfth.

In the Tenth District, which includes Sliema and St Julians, 55.9% of PN members want Delia to resign. This is the only district where the majority of members want their leader out, a reflection of the crowds that have been rallying behind NGOs Repubblika and Occupy Justice.

In the Eleventh and Twelfth districts, Delia only manages relative majorities in his favour. In the Eleventh District 47.7% of members do not want Delia to step down as opposed to 40.3% who do. In the Twelfth, 43.7% do not want him to resign as opposed to 40.4% who do.

Delia vs PN parliamentary group

Adrian Delia achieved a high trust rating among Nationalist Party members with 55.7% giving him a score of between eight and 10, according to a MaltaToday survey.

This contrasts with the medium trust rating achieved by the PN parliamentary group. The survey shows that 54.9% of members awarded the parliamentary group a rating of between four and seven.

Respondents were asked to rate their level of trust on a scale of one to 10 (one being the lowest and 10 the highest). Answers were grouped into three categories: low (scores between one and three); medium (between four and seven); and high (between eight and 10).

Delia managed to achieve absolute majorities in the high category in all electoral districts apart from the Ninth and the Tenth.

In the Ninth District that includes Msida and Swieqi, 43.2% of PN members classified Delia in the high category as opposed to 40%, who gave him a medium trust rating.

The Tenth District emerged once again as the most problematic for the PN leader, with a relative majority of party members (39.9%), giving him a low trust rating, as opposed to 39.5% who gave him a high rating.

Delia’s strongest trust levels are in the southern districts. In the Second District, 73.8% of PN members gave Delia a high trust rating. This strong showing was followed by that in the Fourth District where 65.2% of tesserati gave Delia a high rating.

In Gozo, 58.2% of PN members gave Delia a high rating.

These figures contrast with those of the parliamentary group where Delia faced a rebellion over the past two weeks.

Across all districts, the principle trust rating of the parliamentary group fell within the medium category.

This suggests that even in those districts where Delia’s trust rating wanes and the call for his resignation is highest, party members can only muster a moderate level of trust in the parliamentary group.

This is possibly a reflection of the major problem that members have identified for the PN’s lacklustre performance – lack of unity (see separate article).

Lack of unity is party members’ biggest concern

From cold war to open warfare, Adrian Delia’s leadership has been characterised by infighting that has put electors off the Nationalist Party and destabilised members.

The situation flared up again two weeks ago after a MaltaToday survey put Delia’s national trust rating at its lowest in two years.

Members of the PN parliamentary group openly rebelled, asking their leader to step down in a game of high stakes that saw Delia stand his ground and warning MPs to either toe the line or leave.

Now, a MaltaToday survey among PN members – tesserati – shows that their biggest concern is lack unity. Just under half of members (46.4%) identified lack of unity as the biggest problem facing their party today.

This was followed by 17.4% of members who said their biggest concern was an ‘inadequate parliamentary group’. Only 11.9% identified having an ‘inadequate leader’ as their main worry.

The party’s big debts and financial woes, which were highlighted in the resignation letters of Clyde Puli and Robert Arrigo, barely feature, with only 4% of tesserati indicating them as their major concern.

Once again, the divide between north and south emerges. While lack of unity is the major concern across all electoral districts, Delia’s inadequacy as leader jumps from single-digit numbers in the first six districts to double-digit figures between the Seventh and the Thirteenth districts.

The Sliema district registers the highest number of party members (22.4%) who believe having an inadequate leader is a major concern.

Methodology

The survey was carried out between Wednesday 12 February and Friday 14 February 2020. 651 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on district, age and gender was used to replicate the Nationalist Party membership. The estimated margin of error is 3.8% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have larger margins of error.

In the trust questions, respondents were asked to give a rating on a scale from one to 10 with one being the lowest and 10 the highest. Results were then grouped in three categories: low (scores 1-3); medium (4-7); and high (1-8).

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