MaltaToday survey: PN ahead for first time in 15 years

MaltaToday July survey | Voting intentions: PL 29.6% • PN 30.2% • Others 2.4% • No Vote 22.6% | Trust barometer: Abela 39.2% • Grech 26.8% • None 33.3%

This poll was carried out over the past two weeks
This poll was carried out over the past two weeks

Updated at 4.30pm with full survey results

The Nationalist Party is for the first time in 15 years ahead of the Labour Party in the polls, even if by less than a percentage point.

The MaltaToday July survey shows support for the PN standing at 30.2% against the PL’s 29.6%. ADPD’s support stands at 1.2%, while other parties collectively score at 1.2%.

Non-voters form the third largest ‘party’ with 22.6% of the electorate saying they will not vote of an election is held tomorrow.

Amidst the political turmoil of the past two weeks prompted by calls for a public inquiry into the Jean Paul Sofia case, the PL has seen its 4.4-point lead in May’s survey evaporate. The PN now leads by a sheer 0.6 points.

This turn in fortunes comes in the wake of a 1.5-point increase for the PN and a 3.5-point drop for the PL.

The PN has never led Labour in any survey held by MaltaToday since the 2008 general election, which it won by a whisker.

However, the result has to be interpreted with caution since the difference between the parties is well within the survey’s margin of error.

Despite a small shift to the PN, the PL’s losses are mainly attributable to a lower retention of its 2022 voters from 70.1% in May to just 64.3% now.

Crucially, the percentage of Labour voters in 2022 now intent on not voting has increased to 17.4%, an increase of one point from May.

Significantly in a clear indication of confusion in Labour’s electorate the percentage of undecided voters among its 2022 voters has shot up from 9.1% in May to 14.7% now.

The survey result represents a dramatic collapse in support for the Labour Party which back in February enjoyed a staggering 16-point lead over the PN. Since February the Labour Party has lost 15.4 points and its cur-rent result is the worst ever.

Without attributing voting intentions to those who are unsure or who say they will not vote, the present gap translates into a 2,131-vote difference in favour of the PN. In May, the vote gap stood at 15,624 in favour of the PL.

Over the past two months Labour has lost support in the absence of any remarkable in-roads by the PN which has only gained 1.5 points since May. Labour’s drop also comes in the wake of an increase in non-voters and undecided voters, suggesting that PL voters are shifting away from the party but many are not yet convinced they should switch votes.

Small shift for PN

Despite the very modest gains made by the PN, the survey indicates a small shift from the PL to the PN; while 2.8% of Labour voters in 2022 are now intent on voting for the PN, only 0.8% of PN voters will now vote Labour.

But this pales in comparison with Labour’s haemorrhage to abstention.

While the PN now loses 8.5% of its 2022 voters to abstention up from 5.3% in May, abstention among 2022 PL voters has increased from 16.3% to 17.4%.

Moreover, while 10.2% of PN voters in 2022 are undecided, 14.7% of Labour voters are now undecided, up from 9.1% in May.

PN makes gains among 36- to 50-year-olds

The survey shows the PN leading amongst those over 65 years of age, where it enjoys a 4.4-point lead and also among 36- to 50-year-olds where it enjoys a six-point advantage.

Compared to May the PN has seen its support among 36- to 50-year-olds increase by 6.5 points while Labour has lost 11.8 points in this age group.

But Labour still leads by 2.1 points among 16- to 34-year-olds and by 7.4 points among 51 to 65-year-olds.

Notably, abstention emerges as the most popular choice of 16- to 34-year-olds followed by indecision. In this age group 34.7% are in-tent on not voting and 21.2% are undecided. Only 17% intend voting PN while 19.1% will vote PL. Compared to May the percentage of non-voters in this age group has increased by four points.

But although the abstention rate drops to 9.6% among over 65-year-olds, the number of non-voters among this category is 3.6 points higher than in May.

PN retakes Gozo and makes inroads in Southern Harbour

On a regional level the PN is now leading the PL in three regions. Gozo is now blue with the PN enjoying a four-point lead. In the Northern region the PN leads by 13.8 points, while in the Northern Harbour region it leads by 9.6 points.

In the May survey Labour had enjoyed a lead in all regions except the Northern Harbour.

In Gozo, the only region which matches an electoral district, Labour has seen a four-point lead in May evaporate as the PN increased its support by 5.1 point.

Labour still enjoys a remarkable 19.5-point lead in the South-Eastern region and a 7.9-point lead in the Western region.

But significantly its lead in the Southern Harbour region which includes Cottonera, has slipped from 12.6 points in May to just 1.9 points now. Labour’s decline in this region comes amidst an 8.9-point increase for the PN in Labour’s heartland.

The survey shows the PN gaining most ground among the tertiary educated, among which its support has increased by 9.3 points since May. In contrast, it has only gained 1.4 points among the secondary educated.

But Labour loses 8.3 points among the secondary educated mainly thanks to a 5.5-point increase in the undecided.

The Nationalist Party may have overtaken the Labour Party in the polls but MaltaToday’s July survey shows little has changed in the trust enjoyed by the two leaders.

Robert Abela’s trust rating now stands at 39.2%, an increase of 2.1 points, while Bernard Grech scores 26.8%, an increase of 1.3 points.

Grech’s failure to catch up with Abela can be partly explained by the fact that 18.1% of current PN voters do not trust either political leader while only 2.2% of current PL voters trust neither leader. Moreover, while 97.1% of current PL voters trust Abela only 81% of PN voters trust Grech.

But while Abela enjoys a strong trust rating among current PL voters, a substantial 17% of PL voters in the 2022 general election trust neither of the two leaders. But distrust in Grech among the cohort of PN voters in 2022 is even higher at 28.3%.

The survey shows Abela leading Grech by 12.4 points, up from 11.6 points in May.

Despite the turmoil of the past two weeks, which appears to have hit the PL fortunes, the survey shows Abela gaining ground.

The increase in trust for the two leaders comes amidst a small 0.8-point decrease among those who trust neither leader and a more substantial 2.6-point decrease among respondents who are undecided on who to trust between the two leaders.

While Abela registers a trust boost, the Prime Minister has still not recovered from his first major poll setback in March following the revocation of the Stewards concession by the law courts a month earlier.

Abela’s trust rating had declined from 45% in February to 34.3% in March only to increase to 37.1% in May and 39.2% now.

On the other hand, Bernard Grech’s trust rating had increased by seven points since February.

Abela 10 points more popular than his party

Significantly Abela remains substantially more popular than his party. While only 29.6% will vote Labour, 39.2% trust Abela. This suggests the Prime Minister is nearly 10 points more popular than his party.

In contrast, while 30.2% will vote PN, Grech trails his party by 3.4 points.

This suggests that Labour has more room to grow among respondents who are presently undecided or intent on not voting than the PN. One clear indication that present non-voters could lean towards Labour is that within this category Abela is trusted by 18.5% of voters in contrast to just 4.2% who trust Grech. But in an indication that non-voters can be a hard nut to crack for both parties, a substantial 75.1% trust neither leader.

But the survey also shows Grech making more inroads among Labour voters than Abela does among PN voters.

While 3.6% of Labour voters in 2022 now trust Grech, 3.1% of 2022 PN voters trust Abela.

53% of under 35-year-olds trust neither leader

As was the case in May the survey shows that an absolute majority of respondents (52.6%) aged between 16 and 35 trust neither of the two political leaders.

But the survey also shows Grech trailing Abela by a substantial 17.3 points among the youngest age group, in another indication of the PN’s leader’s failure to communicate with this cohort of voters.

Significantly, Abela leads Grech among all age groups with the PN leader registering his best trust rating among those over 65 years. Among this category Abela leads Grech by 8.5 points.

Abela also beats Grech in all geographical regions but the gap between the two leaders ranges from 2.7 points in the Northern region to a staggering 34.4 points in the South-East-ern region. In Gozo the trust gap between the two leader amounts to just 2.7 points.

The largest percentage of respondents who trust neither of the two leaders is found in the Northern Harbour region (38.5%) and the Western region (42.5%).

Grech leads among tertiary educated

The survey shows a sharp divide between the tertiary educated who lean towards Grech and the rest of the population that lean towards Abela.

Abela leads Grech amongst all educational cohorts except the tertiary educated where the Opposition leader enjoys a lead of 14.2 points. Among this cohort, Abela registers a dismal trust rating of 19.5%. But among this category a staggering 46.8% trust neither of the two leaders.

Among the secondary educated Abela enjoys a 24.5-point lead over Grech. In this category, the percentage who trust neither leader falls to 29.1%. Abela also enjoys a substantial 20.2-point advantage among those with a post-secondary education.


The survey was carried out between Monday 10 July 2023 and Thursday 20 July 2023. 749 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate the Maltese demographic voting in the general election. The estimated margin of error is 3.6% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.