MaltaToday Survey | PN’s Christmas is stolen by worsening leaders’ trust gap

MaltaToday Survey and Trust Barometer | Robert Abela’s trust rating has risen to 51.1%, while that of Nationalist leader Bernard Grech has dropped to 26.5%

Robert Abela ends the year with a trust rating of 51.1% and the largest gap ever over rival Bernard Grech, the December MaltaToday survey shows.

The Prime Minister’s rating increases by two points over last month, as Grech’s drops by 1.5 points to 26.5%.

The gap between the two stands at almost 25 points, the widest it has ever been since Grech became leader of the Nationalist Party in September 2020.

The December result leaves the Prime Minister nine points ahead of the score he obtained in January 2021. Abela performed better in the second half of the year as Malta gradually emerged from the COVID-19 crisis in relatively good shape.

The Opposition leader ends his first full year in politics eight points below the result he obtained in January when the gap with Abela was a mere 7.4 points.

But Grech’s promising start to the year fizzled in the second half after taking a hit in May when bickering between Adrian Delia and Jason Azzopardi went public on Facebook.

The latest survey result shows Abela beating Grech soundly across all age groups and all regions bar one.

Young give Abela 20-point lead

Among voters aged 16 to 35, Abela registers a trust rating of 42.9%, 20 points ahead of his rival, who scores 23%. This is also the age group with the highest percentage of sceptics (29.3%) who trust none of the two leaders.

But the Prime Minister enjoys similar significant advantages over his rival in other age groups.

Among those aged 36 to 50, Abela has a trust rating of 49.5%, while Grech registers 22% - a 28-point gap. The gap rises to 29 points among those aged between 51 and 65, with Abela registering 56.4% and Grech 27.6%.

Among pensioners aged 65 and over, Abela scores a trust rating of 56.3%, 23 points ahead of Grech, who registers his best result at 32.8%.

Grech slumps in Gozo

On a geographical basis, Abela’s trust rating surpasses the 60% mark in the traditional Labour strongholds in the South-Eastern and Southern Harbour regions, and Gozo.

The Prime Minister enjoys a trust rating of 64.4% in the south east, 66.7% in the Southern Harbour region and 60% in Gozo.

In these three regions, Grech scores his worst results – 26.2% in the South-Eastern region, 16% in the Southern Harbour and a dismal 7% in Gozo.

While these figures have to be interpreted with caution because subgroups tend to have much larger margins of error, this is especially so for Gozo which is the smallest region.

The Prime Minister beats the Opposition leader also in the Northern region and the Northern Harbour.

The only region where Grech emerges ahead is the Western region where he obtains his best result of 36.7% and is eight points ahead of Abela, who scores his lowest result at 28.5%.

Nationalists trust Abela

When analysing the results by political affiliation, Abela is trusted by 90.3% of those who voted for the Labour Party in the 2017 general election. On the other hand, Grech enjoys the trust of 65.5% of those who voted for the Nationalist Party.

A more crucial figure sees 10.4% of PN voters putting their trust in Abela, while only 1.2% of PL voters trust Grech.

Nationalist voters are significantly warier of both leaders than Labour voters – while 21.6% of those who voted PN in 2017 trust no one, this figure drops to 6.9% among PL voters.


The survey was carried out between Friday 26 November 2021 and Thursday 2 December 2021. 652 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 4.1% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.