MaltaToday Survey | PN members flock behind Bernard Grech, party outsider backed by Delia rivals

[FULL DATA] Bernard Grech in pole position with high trust ranking among PN members

Bernard Grech enjoys the highest trust level among PN members, pipping Adrian Delia and the MEP Roberta Metsola.

The MaltaToday survey shows how the PN’s tesserati are perceiving who their next leader should be, and the results surprise by putting paid to initial impressions on the frontunners.

Bernard Grech enjoys the highest trust level among PN members, pipping Adrian Delia and the MEP Roberta Metsola.

The MaltaToday survey shows how the PN’s tesserati are perceiving who their next leader should be, and the results surprise by putting paid to initial impressions on the frontrunners.

Bernard Grech enjoys the highest trust level among Nationalist Party members and is considered the person best suited to bring about unity, a MaltaToday survey shows.

Grech achieved a score of 63.1% in the high category when party members were asked to rate their trust in the individual candidates.

Only 5.8% gave Grech a low score, while 22.1% gave him a medium rating.

This contrasts with incumbent PN leader Adrian Delia, who achieved a score of 23.3% in the high category, 34.3% in the medium and 35.3% in the low category.

The survey also found that ‘lack of unity’ was perceived as the principle problem within the PN by 43.4% of party members, followed by an ‘inadequate leader’ (19.5%) and an ‘inadequate parliamentary group’ (12.1%).

When asked who was the most likely candidate to solve the party’s problems, Grech once again emerged on top with 50.8%, followed by Delia with 12.8%.

The survey was carried out among PN members, who will be the ones to choose the party leader in the coming weeks.

MaltaToday was leaked an anonymised PN membership list that had contact numbers and the locality of residence. The responses were grouped by electoral districts.

The survey was carried out between 3 and 7 August when internal discussions were taking place within the party to find a unity candidate who would run against Delia.

Eventually, potential contenders, Roberta Metsola, Therese Comodini Cachia and Mark Anthony Sammut ruled themselves out of the contest, paving the way for Grech’s candidature.

The survey shows that Metsola achieved a trust score of 39.5% in the high category, and a low score of 13.9%, while Comodini Cachia scored 10.2% in the high category and 45.9% in the low. Sammut scored 22.4% in the high category and 18.4% in the low.

How does Grech perform?

Grech achieved an absolute majority in the high trust category across all electoral districts bar the Eleventh and the Seventh, where he mustered 31.9% and 48.5% respectively.

He emerged overwhelmingly strong in the Fifth and Tenth Districts, with PN members here giving him a high trust rating of 85.8% and 81.6% respectively.

In Gozo, which is an electoral district in its own right, Grech scored 69% in the high trust category.

Grech achieved a higher top trust rating among women than men (67.8% vs 58.7%) and scored absolute majorities in the highest category across all age groups.

Among those aged between 18 and 35, Grech achieved 57.5% in the high trust category and 68.9% among those aged 65 and over.

How does Delia perform?

Delia could not muster a single absolute majority in the high trust category across all electoral districts.

His highest top trust rating was among party members in the Second District (43.7%) but posted a dismal showing in the Tenth District where he achieved a zero score in the high category and 69.5% in the low.

In Gozo, Delia achieved a high trust category score of 24.9% and 47.3% in the low trust category.

His trust rating among women and men is very similar, with 23.8% and 22.8% respectively giving him a high score.

Among the young, Delia scored 17.6% trust in the high category and 21.7% among the elderly.

Who is likely to win?

The survey did not ask PN members who they will vote for given the uncertainty over the number of candidates considering a run for the leadership.

However, the results are indicative of a surge of support for Grech, who is a relative outsider in the PN. He has never held a position within the party and was only recently included in a policy cluster as part of the internal restructuring.

The high trust levels enjoyed by Grech across electoral districts and age groups, and the perception that he is the most likely to bring about unity, suggest that he starts the race in pole position.

Whether he will retain the top spot will, however, also depend on his performance in the leadership campaign when members will get the chance to know him better.

Delia has proved himself to be a tough campaigner and as the Labour leadership contest of last January shows, nothing can be taken for granted.

In the PL race, Chris Fearne had started the race well ahead of Robert Abela, only to be eclipsed at the final hour as support for the latter surged spectacularly.

The numbers also suggest that although Delia does not enjoy high trust levels, party members are not particularly endeared to Roberta Metsola and Therese Comodini Cachia. The fact that the parliamentary group can only muster a high trust rating of 13.4% is also indicative of the level of disquiet among members with the shenanigans of the past three years.

Within this contest, Grech’s candidature appears to be the compromise between Delia and a fractured parliamentary group.

Potential candidates have until tomorrow to register their interest in contesting the leadership. So far, only Delia and Grech have done so and unless someone else decides to throw their name in the ring, the race will be decided directly by party members.

However, to be eligible for the contest, candidates would first have to pass a due diligence test.

Methodology

466 respondents opted to participate in this survey of Nationalist Party members between Monday 3 August and Friday 7 August 2020. Stratified random sampling based on gender, age and electoral district was used to replicate as close as possible the party membership base.

 

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