Abela vs Grech: Trust gap remains significant

Robert Abela and Labour unblemished by Caruana Galizia public inquiry findings

Robert Abela’s trust rating is unchanged since July despite the damning findings of the Daphne Caruana Galizia public inquiry, MaltaToday’s September survey shows. 

The Prime Minister’s rating now stands at 51.5% an insignificant drop of 0.1 points over the July findings – there was no MaltaToday survey in August. 

However, there is a slightly more pronounced drop in Bernard Grech’s trust rating, which now reads 29.5%. The Opposition leader sheds 0.9 points since July. 

The gap on the trust barometer between the two major political leaders has grown to 22 points from 21.2 points in July. 

The September survey was held between 25 August and 2 September. 

It comes on the back of several developments this summer, not least the publication of the public inquiry that found the State was responsible for Caruana Galizia’s murder by allowing impunity to flourish. 

The past couple of months have also allowed people to fully absorb the impact of Malta’s greylisting by the Financial Action Task Force in June, which caused shockwaves in certain sectors of the economy. 

The country’s successful COVID-19 vaccination drive reached more than 90% of the eligible population and more restrictions continued being lifted. 

However, the Nationalist Party has also experienced changes of its own with the recruitment of Chris Peregin as chief strategist and the election of young party officials, including its secretary-general Michael Piccinino. 

This political scenario, however, appears to have had little if no impact on the trust rating of the two main leaders and the gap between them remains significant. 

Abela retains a trust level above the 50% mark, while Grech slips for the third time in five months below the 30% mark. 

The Labour Party leader beats Grech across all age groups with a sharp difference in the 51-65 category, where Abela enjoys a trust rating of 69%. 

Among those aged 16-35, Abela’s trust rating stands at 37.5%, 14 points ahead of Grech who scores 23.8%. 

On a geographical basis, Abela beats Grech in Gozo, the Northern Harbour region, the South-East and the Southern Harbour. The PN leader is trusted more than Abela in the Northern and Western regions. 

In Gozo, Abela’s trust rating stands at 54.3%, a 19-point gap over his rival, who scores 35.6%. 

The PL leader’s trust rating soars in the South-Eastern region where he registers a whopping 73.5% against Grech’s 17.6%. 

The PN leader makes inroads in the Northern region, where he leads the Prime Minister by 12 points. Grech scores 45% in this region, making this his best showing. 

In the Western region Grech has a two-point lead over Abela. While the Opposition leader registers a trust rating of 42.4%, Abela scores 40.6%. 

A breakdown of findings according to how people voted in the last general election shows that Abela enjoys the trust of 89.7% of those who voted for the PL. Grech has the trust of 72.8% of those who voted PN in 2017. 

A staggering 21.9% of those who voted PN trust none of the two leaders, while only 7.7% of PL voters trust no one.