Still planning a holiday? MaltaToday Survey finds 2021 a mixed bag of optimism

A MaltaToday survey found that 81.1% of people expect this year to be better for them than the one that has just ended

Whether it is human nature instinctively believing in a better future, or hope coming in the form of a vaccine vial, people are optimistic about 2021.

A MaltaToday survey found that 81.1% of people expect this year to be better for them than the one that has just ended. Only 5.4% have no such expectation, while the rest are unsure.

After a crappy year conditioned by a global pandemic a dose of optimism may be justified: what can really be worse than 2020?

Well, there may be catastrophic events and personal circumstances that could make the new year worse but generally speaking people have hope and this cuts across age groups, political allegiance and regions.

The level of optimism is highest among those aged between 18 and 35 with 85.9% saying they expect 2021 to be better for them. Among pensioners, 79% expect the new year to be better.

Optimism is running highest in Gozo where 87.1% believe 2021 will be better than the outgoing year, followed by those who live in the South-Eastern region, where 86.2% have hope in a better future.

The survey found that 89.2% of people who voted for the Labour Party in the 2017 election believe 2021 will be a better year for them but Nationalist voters were a notch less optimistic with 69.8% believing in a better future.

Only 2.1% of Labour voters and 8.8% of Nationalist voters have no expectation of a better new year. The rest are unsure.

Subdued optimism on personal finances

But while the overall outlook for 2021 appears bright, the level of optimism is more subdued when people were asked what their outlook on their personal finances is.

Just over half (53.2%) expect their personal financial situation to be better in 2021, while 23.8% expect it to remain the same and 7.1% to worsen. Another 15.5% are unsure.

The more optimistic are the young and pensioners with 56% and 55.7% respectively believing their personal financial situation will be better in 2021.

Once again, Gozitans are the most optimistic with 77.3% prospecting a personal financial situation that will be better in 2021. Findings from a survey published last week showed that a significant 61% of Gozitans saw their personal finances worsen in 2020.

The swing is possibly a reflection of the island’s dependence on tourism and the hope that the new year will bring with it a resurgence of the sector that was decimated by the pandemic.

The least optimistic about their personal finances are people living in the South-Eastern and Southern Harbour regions with 44.7% and 43.5% believing their personal financial situation will be better.

A breakdown by political allegiance shows that 60.1% of Labour voters and 40.2% of PN voters expect their personal finances to take a turn for the better in 2021.

PN voters were twice as likely as Labourites to prospect a worsening financial situation. The findings showed that 4.8% of PL voters and 11.6% of PN voters believe their finances will worsen in the new year.

There were 21.3% and 27.1% of PL and PN voters respectively, who said their financial situation will likely remain the same as last year.

PN voters were more likely to be unsure of the future with 20.2% unable to forecast how their personal finances will shape up in 2021. In a similar predicament were 13.8% of PL voters.

Just over a third of people are planning a holiday abroad in 2021 as the rays of hope colour the new year.

The survey found that 36.3% of people are planning an overseas holiday, while 51.2% are not. Another 12.4% were unsure whether their vacation will take them abroad.

The highest numbers of those planning an overseas holiday are found among those aged between 18 and 50, while only 13.7% of pensioners are doing likewise.

There was no marked difference between PL and PN voters.

Methodology

The survey was carried out between Monday 30 November 2020 and Friday 4 December 2020. 641 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 4.9% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.

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