Labour support at its highest in 2021, survey shows

Support for the Labour Party runs at 45.9%, the highest it has ever been this year, according to the December MaltaToday survey

File photo
File photo

Support for the Labour Party runs at 45.9%, the highest it has ever been this year, according to the December MaltaToday survey.

The Nationalist Party registers 31.9%, while ADPD scores 0.1%. People who will not vote remain stable at 11.3%, while those who are uncertain have dropped to 10.3% from 13.5% last month.

The survey shows that both major parties have registered gains over November with support for the PL increasing by 2.6 points and that for the PN going up by 2.1 points.

The gap between the parties, based on the raw survey results stands at 14 points.

The increase in support for the PN contrasts with Bernard Grech’s decline in the trust barometer. The PN leader remains less popular than his party unlike the PL leader.

Vote gap analysis

Labour leads by a majority of 45,000 votes. This difference is obtained by working out the declared voting intention as a percentage of eligible voters and assuming that those who voted for the party in 2017 but are today unsure, will vote again for the same party.

New voters who are unsure are not assigned.

If the PN captures all new unsure voters, an unlikely scenario, the gap will drop to 32,000, which is almost at par with the 2017 election result.

The PL’s growth potential is higher than the PN’s when taking into account the trust ratings of the respective party leaders.

Abela is trusted by 32% of unsure voters, while Grech is trusted by just 2.2%. Almost half (43.8%) trust none of the leaders, while 22% are uncertain.

The figures are skewed in Abela’s favour even among those who say they will not vote. Of this cohort, a staggering 69.6% trust no one, 18% trust Abela and 5.6% trust Grech.

Young voters neck and neck

Young voters aged between 16 and 35 give the PN a slight edge over Labour with 33.4% against 31.3%.

This neck and neck result contrasts with the trust barometer, where the PN leader is trounced resoundingly by his rival. This suggests that young voters see the PN more appealing than Grech, which should be of little consequence for PN strategists as long these voters tick the party box in an election.

But strategists also know that in a presidential style election where party leaders take centre stage, it is the PL that has the opportunity to widen its appeal among young voters by tapping into its leader’s popularity.

Young voters, however, remain the most unsure (16.6%) and the most likely to say they will not vote (17.7%), which leaves the field wide open for parties to convince them to support their cause.

In all other age groups the PL leads the PN with comfortable margins.

PN strong in Western region

On a geographic basis, the PL leads in four of the six regions, including Gozo.

In Gozo, the PL registers its best result at 60%, surpassing its successes in the traditional Labour-leaning regions in the south and south east.

The PN registers its worst result in Gozo, only managing a poor 13.5%, which is double the trust achieved by Grech in the region.

But the PN is comfortably ahead of the PL in the Western region and marginally in front in the Northern region.

In the west, the PN enjoys is strongest support at 45.9% against the PL’s 26.8%. In the Northern region, the PN’s support stands at 38.5% against Labour’s 37.5%.

Results in these subgroups have to be interpreted with caution since the margins of error are much larger than the overall sample but can be indicative of broad trends.

PL attracts PN voters

Looking at how 2017 voters are behaving now, shows that the PL retains 86.3% of its support, while the PN retains 78.9%.

While 3.2% of Nationalist voters in 2017 now say, they will vote PL, only 1.5% of Labour voters say they will cast their vote for the Opposition party.