MaltaToday Survey | Red alert as Robert Abela’s trust rating slides below 40%

MaltaToday Survey • Robert Abela’s trust rating jammed on reverse, Bernard Grech jogging on the spot

Robert Abela’s trust rating has slumped to its lowest ever at 39.8% as the Prime Minister continues to shed support in the MaltaToday March survey. 

This is the first time that the trust rating of a Labour leader has fallen below the 40% mark since October 2017. 

Abela loses almost two points since last month’s survey at a time when the country is battling a surge in coronavirus infections. 

However, Opposition leader Bernard Grech fails to capitalise on the Prime Minister’s poor performance, posting a trust rating of 34.8%. 

The findings show that Grech is practically jogging on the spot after losing 0.3 points since last month’s survey. 

The trust gap between the leaders now stands at five points as a result of Abela’s losses, rather than Grech’s gains. 

The Prime Minister’s slump is reflected in the result obtained by the Labour Party, which scores 39.2%, it’s worst result since 2017. The Nationalist Party’s support also reflects its leader’s static performance, obtaining 32.6%, a decrease of 0.4 points since February. 

The number of people who trust none of the two major leaders now stands at 18.9%, an increase of almost five points since last month. 
Abela enjoys a higher trust rating than Grech among men and women, and all age groups apart from pensioners. 

Among those aged 65+, the PN leader obtains 45.8% against Abela’s 43.2%. But in the youngest cohort (ages 16 to 35), the Labour leader surges ahead with 36.2% versus Grech’s 25%. 

On a geographical basis, Abela leads in Gozo, the South-East, the Southern Harbour and the Western regions. Grech trumps the Prime Minister in the Northern and Northern Harbour regions. 

Gozo and the Southern Harbour give Abela absolute majorities with 50.4% and 51.3% respectively.

PL posts worst result but PN fails to capitalise 

Support for the Labour Party stands at 39.2%, its worst result since the last general election, the March MaltaToday survey shows. 

The PL loses almost two points since last month’s survey as the downward trend that started in December continues to hound the governing party. 

Support for the Nationalist Party now stands at 32.6%, a marginal decrease of 0.4 points, leaving it in a static position despite the PL’s slide. 

ADPD registers 1.7%, an increase of one percentage point over last month’s survey. 

Taking into account the actual performance of the political parties in the last general election as a starting point and using the survey results on how people voted back then and how they will vote now, shows the PL ahead with just under 23,000 votes. In the 2017 general election, the PL surpassed the PN by 35,280 votes. 

This assumes that those who are unsure now, will vote according to their previous election choice and new voters since 2017 would be split according evenly. 

The latest results show that the PL is losing support but this has not translated into gains for the PN. This could be an indication of growing dissatisfaction with government’s performance but voters do not yet see the PN as an alternative. 

The gap between the parties now stand at 6.6 points, the closest it has ever been. 

The survey was carried out between Monday 1 March and Friday 5 March at a time when coronavirus infection hit record numbers, forcing the government to take more restrictive measures to curb the spread. 

The findings show the PL retaining 71.7% of its 2017 general election vote, while the PN retains 72.8% of those who voted for it. 

Looking at the shifts between parties, 5.1% of those who voted PL in 2017 now say they will vote for the PN, and 4.3% of those who voted Nationalist will now cast their ballot for the PL. 

The PL has a stronger cohort of voters than the PN, who now say they will not vote. 12.7% of those who voted Labour in the last election say they will stay away from the ballot box, while 10.2% of Nationalist voters will not vote. 

The PL beats the PN among men and women, and across all age groups. 

Among those aged between 16 and 35, the PL scores 32.7% against the PN’s 28.2%. The gap widens further among those aged between 36 and 65. 

In contrast with the trust barometer, the PL beats the PN among those aged 65 and over. The PL enjoys the support of 45.9% among pensioners as opposed to the PN’s 40.4%. This reversal of fortunes could be a reflection on the ability of Bernard Grech to communicate better than Robert Abela with this section of voters, who, however, may still be unwilling to shift their party allegiance. 

On a geographical basis, the PL trumps the PN in Gozo, the South-Eastern, Southern Harbour and Western regions. The PN emerges ahead in the Northern and Northern Harbour regions. 

The PL’s best result is in Gozo with 52.3% and its worst is in the Northern region where it slumps to 18.4%. The PN’s best result is in the Northern Harbour with 42.2% and its worst performance is in Gozo where it scores 22.3%. 

All results of these subgroups have to be interpreted with caution since margins of error are much higher. 


The survey was carried out between Monday 1 March 2021 and Friday 5 March 2021. 649 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.