MaltaToday Survey | Migration, the Opposition and COVID-19 are top three concerns

Latest MaltaToday Survey shows concern about the Opposition has gone from 1% in November last year to 13.2% in July.

The state of the Opposition was flagged as a concern by 17.8% of Labour voters and 12.5% of Nationalist voters
The state of the Opposition was flagged as a concern by 17.8% of Labour voters and 12.5% of Nationalist voters

The state of the Opposition is the third topmost concern for the electorate just behind illegal immigration and COVID-19, a MaltaToday survey has found.

In eight months and a multitude of controversies later, concern about the Opposition has gone from 1% in November last year to 13.2% in July.

The latest survey was held between the 13 and 17 July, the same week that Nationalist Party leader Adrian Delia lost a vote of confidence in the executive. A week before, Delia had lost the trust of a majority of his parliamentary group.

The state of the Opposition was flagged as a concern by 17.8% of Labour voters and 12.5% of Nationalist voters.

Respondents were asked to list the two major problems facing the country today.

Illegal immigration topped the list with 14.2%. Labour Party voters were three times more likely than Nationalist voters to consider migration as a problem.

Just a month earlier, immigration was on the national agenda when government refused entry to more than 400 migrants, who were kept in detention on pleasure cruise ships just outside territorial waters.

Eventually, after almost four weeks, the government recanted and allowed the migrants to come ashore. Since then, migrant arrivals have dropped but the issue remains a concern for the electorate.

Immigration was also top of the list in November although concern was running at a much higher level with 32.3% of respondents mentioning it as a problem. At the time, people were still shocked after a violent riot that took place at the Hal Far open centre.

However, unlike November, concerns about foreigners working and living in Malta have disappeared from the top-10 list.

Coronavirus and corruption

Health concerns related to COVID-19 ranked second highest with 13.5% of people indicating this as a problem.

All coronavirus restrictions were lifted in June and on 15 July most airline routes were reopened for travel.

The number of new cases has remained significantly low apart from last week when at least seven positive cases were recorded from a single party held over the previous weekend.

The survey was carried out before this new cluster of cases emerged, indicating that COVID-19 remains a constant worry among people.

Corruption has climbed up the league table and is now the fourth topmost concern with 8.8%.

Back in November the survey was held before the political crisis that erupted as a result of Yorgen Fenech’s arrest. Corruption ranked seventh at 2.7%.

Since then, the country experienced political turmoil that led to a new prime minister being elected, damning details linking Daphne Caruana Galizia’s murder to Castille have emerged in court, compromising testimony has revealed alleged links and communication between Fenech and people in power, including the Opposition leader, and the Auditor General released a scathing report on the hospitals concession tender award to Vitals Global Healthcare.

The period was also characterised by the Prime Minister’s decisions to force Chris Cardona’s resignation from deputy leader, kick Konrad Mizzi out of the parliamentary group and ask Justyne Caruana to resign from minister because of compromising information that emerged in court and the media.

Within this context, corruption has emerged as a higher concern, with Nationalist voters six times more likely than Labour voters to flag the issue as a problem.

Just beneath corruption, at 8.3% is concern about politics. This is likely to be a broad concern that may include issues related to corruption and the Opposition’s internal turmoil.

Traffic, environment, construction down, economy up

Concerns related to traffic, the environment and construction still appear in the top 10 spots but have dropped down the list.

In November, traffic and roads came second with 13.2%. This has now dropped to sixth place with 7.2%, possibly a sign of improvements to the road network that have eased traffic flows in different areas.

Concern about the environment has dropped from fourth place (7.1%) in November to ninth place (3.1%) now. Similarly, concern about construction and the inconvenience it causes has dropped from fifth place (5.5%) to eighth (3.5%).

However, with the negative economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic hitting hard, the economy has made an appearance as a top-10 concern. In seventh place, the economy was indicated as a concern by 6.9% of respondents.

Last November, the economy did not feature as a concern.

The post-COVID world: job losses and eating out

 

A third of people aged between 36 and 50 fear losing their job as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. This is the age group that is worried the most about threats to employment caused by the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

The survey found that 32.1% of those aged between 36 and 50 are worried about losing their job as opposed to 67.9% who are not.

The fear factor is less pronounced in other working-age groups.

Among those aged between 18 and 35, 21.6% worry about losing their job, while 78.4% do not.

Among those aged between 51 and 65, 10.2% are concerned about job losses and 89.8% are not.

Eating out picking up but caution persists

Since the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, almost 60% of people have eaten in restaurants although Gozitans appear to be more cautious, a MaltaToday survey shows.

Restaurants were able to reopen with precautionary measures in June, although business has been slow to pick up.

The survey shows that an absolute majority of people in every region bar Gozo went out to eat. In Gozo, 41.7% went to a restaurant after the restrictions were lifted, as opposed 58.3%, who did not.

Young people aged between 18 and 35 were most likely to have gone to a restaurant (74.6%), while those of pensionable age were least likely (only 36.2% went to a restaurant).

A breakdown by political allegiance shows that 66.6% of Nationalist voters and 57.7% of Labour voters have eaten out since restrictions were lifted.

Methodology

The survey was carried out between Monday 13 July 2020 and Friday 17 July 2020. 585 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate the Maltese demographic. The estimated margin of error is 5% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have considerably larger margins of error.

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