MaltaToday Survey | Abela’s trust takes a hit but Labour retains 46,000 lead

FULL DATA | Signs of political fatigue as Abela’s trust drop still does not translate into gains for PN rival Bernard Grech

Robert Abela’s trust rating at 47.3% has taken a four-point hit but Bernard Grech has failed to capitalise on the Prime Minister’s woes, MaltaToday’s January survey shows.

Grech’s trust rating stands at 26%, a decline of 0.5 points over last month’s findings.

The gap between the leaders sees Abela ahead by 21.3 points.

However, the survey shows that more people now trust none of the two major leaders. With 21.1% saying they trust neither Abela nor Grech, this is the highest it has been since September 2020.

The Labour leader trounces Grech across all age groups and in five of the six regions.

Abela enjoys the trust of 34.5% of those aged between 16 and 35 against Grech’s 25.3%. The Prime Minister’s strongest showing is among those aged between 51 and 65, where he captures 57.1% as opposed to Grech’s lowly 18%.

Among pensioners, Abela registers a trust rating of 53.9% and Grech 35%.

On a geographical basis, Abela manages to pip Grech in the Northern Harbour region, reversing the result obtained by the respective political parties.

In Gozo, Abela registers 60.3% against Grech’s 22%. The PL leader’s performance hits its highest mark in the Southern Harbour region where he clocks 67.7% against Grech’s 17.1%.

In the South-Eastern region, Abela hits 59.5%, while the PN leader crashes to a dismal 9.5%, his worst result.

The PN leader wins the trust battle in the Western region, where he receives the support of 33% of voters as opposed to Abela’s 24.8%. However, this is also the region with the highest cohort of distrustful voters with 24.7% saying they trust none of the two.

Distrustful Nationalists

Abela enjoys the trust of 83.9% of those who voted for the PL in the 2017 election, while Grech secures the trust of 62.6% of those who voted PN.

The Opposition leader is hampered by distrustful Nationalists with 23.6% saying they trust no one. But his life becomes more complicated because 9.2% of 2017 PN voters trust Abela. On the flip side, only 1.8% of 2017 PL voters trust Grech.

While Abela is more popular than his party, Grech trails the PN. This suggests the PL has bigger growth potential, something that has been evident over a long period of time.

Labour retains strong lead at start of election year

The Labour Party enjoys a 15-point lead over the Nationalist Party at the start of election year but both have seen support decline.

The January MaltaToday survey puts the PL’s support at 43.5% and that of the PN at 28.6%. Support for ADPD stands at 0.9% and other political formations record 0.6%.

Non-voters declined by one point to 10.4%, while uncertain voters increased by almost four points to 13.9%.

Support for Labour declined by 2.4 points over the December survey, while that for the PN

dropped by 3.3 points. Labour enjoys a lead of 14.9 points over the PN, 0.9 points more than last month’s findings.

Labour leads by a majority of almost 46,000 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.

The gap will decline to just under 33,000 votes in the unlikely scenario that the PN captures all new unsure voters.

In the last general election, the gap between the two major parties stood at just over 35,000 votes.

The survey was held between 5 and 12 January in the aftermath of Silvio Grixti’s resignation from parliament, in the midst of a surge of COVID-19 cases and concurrently with reports of David Thake’s VAT problems that eventually led to his resignation as MP.

Labour leads across all age groups

The survey shows the PL leading the PN across all age groups and four of the six regions.

Among young voters aged between 16 and 35, the PL enjoys the support of 31.4% against the PN’s 28.4%. This is the cohort with the largest group of undecided voters (20.9%).

The PL’s support among pensioners stands at 52.1% versus the PN’s 36.6%. Labour also enjoys substantial advantage among those aged between 36 and 65.

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

In Gozo, the PL enjoys substantial support at 59.1% against the PN’s 29.5%. This is also the region where most voters appear to be decided on party choice if an election is held now.

In the South-Eastern region, the PL scores 60.9% against the PN’s 11.6%. The PL’s best result is in the Southern Harbour with 63.5%, while the PN registers 17.1%.

In the Northern region, Labour’s support stands at 34.9%, putting it just ahead of the PN with 32.1%

The PN leads in the Northern Harbour region, with 38.9% versus the PL’s 30.9%. In the Western region, the PN registers 36.9% against the PL’s worst result at 21.8%.

Regional numbers have to be treated with caution since the margin of error in sub-groups is much higher than the overall survey results.

Voter retention

The PL retains 81.2% of those who voted for it in the 2017 general election but loses 1.4% to the PN. Unsure voters account for 8.5% while PL 2017 voters who say they will not vote account for 7.5%.

Voter retention for the PN stands at 70.5% and it loses 3.8% of 2017 voters to the PL. But the PN is also hampered by 15.7% of voters who are unsure what to do if an election is called now, and 9.4% who will not vote.


The survey was carried out between Wednesday 5 January 2022 and Wednesday 12 January 2022. 647 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 4.2% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.