Labour reverses downward trend as non-voters exceed PN in first MaltaToday survey for 2023

MaltaToday survey | PL at 38.7% (+2.3pts), PN at 22.8% (-1.4pts), Non-voters at 23.9% (+1.7pts) • Abela trust at 45% (-2.8pts), Grech at 19.9% (-2.1pts)

Both leaders have lost points on the trust barometer
Both leaders have lost points on the trust barometer

Updated at 5:38pm with full data

Non-voters in MaltaToday’s regular surveys are now accounting for 23.9%, an increase of 1.7 points over December, making them the second largest cohort after Labour voters. 

The increase follows a trendline that has been steadily growing, with just one dip, ever since the March 2022 elections. 

Support for the Labour Party now stands at 38.7%, a two-point increase since December, as it reverses a downward trend, MaltaToday’s first survey for 2023 shows. 

The Nationalist Party scores 22.8%, a decrease of 1.4 points, while collective support for ADPD and other parties stands at 2.7%. 

The raw gap between the PL and the PN stands at 15.9 points. Without attributing voting intentions to those who are unsure or who say they will not vote, this gap translates into a 56,461-vote difference.

This is the first time since the general election that the PL has seen its support grow in MaltaToday’s polls, even though the level of support is still five points less than last May. 

On the flipside, the PN continued with its erratic behaviour in the polls losing the momentum it gained in December. Support for the PN dropped from 24.2% to 22.8%. 

The survey findings suggest the abortion controversy has had very little impact, if at all, on people’s voting choices. 

The losses the PL has experienced go back a number of months, signalling something other than abortion as the reason, and in any case, the party has now experienced an uptick at the height of the controversy. 

On the other hand, the bounce experienced by the PN in December has partially fizzled out despite the abortion issue still being on the agenda and Bernard Grech making it a rallying cry.

Apathetic young voters 

The survey findings show the PL ahead of the PN among men and women, all age groups and in five of the six regions. 

The race between the parties is tighter among women, with the PL registering the support of 35% against the PN’s 27.8% But the margin of difference is significantly higher among men with the PL scoring 42.5% against the PN’S 17.7%. 

Among young voters (16-35) the PL scores 25.6% against the PN’s 17.6%. Young voters are also the cohort with the largest proportion of non-voters – 38.7% say they will not vote if an election is held now. 

The best results achieved by both parties are among pensioners, where political fatigue is almost inexistent – only 7.8% of those aged 65 and over say they will not vote. The PL enjoys the support of 55% of pensioners, while the PN scores 31.1%. 

The PN’s worst performance is among those aged between 36 and 50, scoring 12.5%, against the PL’s 26.3%. This cohort of voters is also highly indifferent with 37.3% saying they will not vote. 

On a geographical basis, the PN only manages to emerge ahead in Gozo with 42% against the PL’s 26.8%. 

In all other regions, the PL is ahead, posting its best result in the Southern Harbour region with 46.6%. The closest contest between the two major parties is in the Northern Harbour region with the PL scoring 33.9% against the PN’s 27.2%.

PN loses voters to PL 

Analysing the numbers by political allegiance shows that the PL retains 77.9% of its 2022 general election voters, while the PN retains 67.3%. 

More PN voters than Labour voters are now inclined not to vote – 15.4% and 10.9% respectively. 

However, symptomatic of the PN’s inability to attract voters to its fold, it loses more voters to Labour than it gains. The survey shows that only 0.9% of Labour voters will now vote for the Nationalists, while 2% of PN voters will vote PL is an election is held now. 

Non-voters in the 2022 election are the likeliest group to remain at home with 78.3% saying they will not vote. But the PL gains more from this group than the PN does – 4.2% of election 2022 non-voters say they will now vote PL, while 1% will vote PN.  

All subgroup numbers have to be interpreted with caution given the smaller sample sizes but the patterns that emerge largely reflect what has been happening over the past eight months. 

Trust barometer | Abela loses trust and Grech slumps to second worst result

Bernard Grech has slumped to his second worst trust rating at 19.9% even as Robert Abela reverses gains made in December, MaltaToday’s trust barometer shows. 

Abela’s trust rating now stands at 45%, a decline of 2.8 points since the last survey in December. 

But the Prime Minister’s misstep provides no reprieve for Grech, who sheds 2.1 points and trails his rival by 25.1 points. 

Since becoming leader of the Nationalist Party, Grech has suffered his two worst results in the past four months alone. In October 2022, Grech hit his lowest ebb at 18.1%, recovering some of the lost ground in December when he scored 22%, only to lose traction by February. 

Those who trust none of the leaders now account for 27.6% of the electorate, an increase of 1.2 points. 

Abela leads Grech among men and women, across all age groups and in five of the six regions. 

The Prime Minister retains the trust of 88.2% of those who voted for the Labour Party in the last general election. He also earns the trust of 3.1% of Nationalist Party voters. 

On the flipside, the Opposition leader secures the trust of 57.3% of PN voters and only manages to win over 0.9% of PL voters. 

The survey shows that 31.2% of PN and 8.1% of PL voters respectively trust none of the leaders.

Abela has edge among non-voters 

Abela enjoys the edge over Grech among those who did not vote in the last election, earning the trust of 10.3% as opposed to the PN leader’s 1.7%. Even so, the vast majority (71.2%) of those who did not vote in the last election trust none of the two leaders. 

Among young voters (16-35), Abela enjoys the trust of 32.7% as opposed to Grech’s 15.5%. 

The trust barometer shows growing scepticism among those aged between 36 and 50. This cohort has the largest proportion of voters who trust none of the leaders (45.9%) but it also represents the cohort with the least trust in Grech (8.3%). 

The leaders’ best performances are among pensioners (65+) where Abela registers 56.5% and Grech 29.9%. 

On a geographical basis, Grech’s only reprieve is Gozo, where he scores 36.4% against the Prime Minister’s 33.8%. 

In all other regions Abela enjoys comfortable leads over his rival with the most notable being the Southern harbour region where the Labour leader scores 55.7% against Grech’s 12.7%. 

Just like the election polling results, the trust barometer suggests the abortion issue had little if no impact on the overall trust ratings of the leaders. Both have lost ground and the difference between them remains substantially high.


The survey was carried out between Tuesday 24 January 2023 and Wednesday 1 February 2023. 646 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.