MaltaToday survey: Budget boost gives Labour 9,000-vote lead

MaltaToday survey | Voting intentions: PL 49%, PN 45.4%, Others 5.6% | Turnout: 69.5% | Trust barometer: Robert Abela 38%, Bernard Grech 23.6% None 38.5%

The survey was held after the budget between 1 and 9 November
The survey was held after the budget between 1 and 9 November

The Labour Party is back in pole position in the aftermath of the budget with MaltaToday’s November survey giving it a 9,000-vote lead over the Nationalist Party. 

Only last month, the PL was trailing the PN by nearly 5,000 votes. 

The findings show that the PL enjoys the support of 49%, an increase of five points over October, and the PN 45.4%, a slight decrease of 0.4 points. Other parties collectively poll 5.6%, a decline of almost five points. 

The increase in support for Labour comes in the aftermath of a socially oriented budget targeting disadvantaged categories like pensioners. The budget boost is reflected in significant gains among over 65-year-olds amongst which Labour has seen its support increasing from 41% to 48%. 

But the survey confirms similar trends in past surveys, with the percentage of non-voters remaining at an all-time high of 31% and a turn out at a historical 69% low if an election is held now. 

The survey shows Labour recovering some ground among non-voters. The survey now shows 26% of PL voters in 2022 intent on not voting, down from 29% last month. 

The gap between the two major parties stands at 8,827 votes based on what would be a historically low turnout of 69%. But the decrease in turnout is still penalising the PL more than the PN. Labour loses 41,893 votes from its 2022 election tally, while the PN loses 11,246 votes. 

The turnout here refers to valid votes cast as a percentage of all eligible voters. 

The difference between the major parties still falls within the survey’s margin of error.  

Labour retaining more voters 

The survey shows Labour retaining a smaller percentage of its 2022 general election voters than the PN. 

Labour’s retention rate (the percentage of voters from the last general election that will vote for it again) increases from 58% last month to 61% now, the PN has seen its retention rate decrease from 77% to 67%. 

The PL’s lower voting retention rate is still mainly the result of a higher percentage of its 2022 voters who now intend to abstain. 

But while the percentage of PN voters in 2022 intent on not voting has now increased from 14% last month to 24% now, the percentage of PL voters in 2022 intent on not voting has decreased from 29% to 26%. 

The survey does not indicate any substantial shifts between the two major parties with corresponding gains made by both cancelling each other out. While 10% of PL voters in 2022 now intend voting for the PN, this is largely mitigated by a contrary shift of 8% of PN voters  who now intend voting for the PL. But the PL also loses 3% of its vote to third parties while the PN only loses 1% of its 2022 voters to third parties. 

Grey vote rewards Labour 

The survey registers the most substantial gains for Labour among over 65-year-olds.  Among this category the party has seen its support increase by seven points from 41% to 48%.  In contrast the PN has seen its support in this category decline from 40% to 37%.  

The PN also loses four points among those aged between 51 and 65. These gains by the PL correspond to a two-point decline in support for the PN. 

But a different picture emerges among under 50-year-olds where Labour fails to register any gains. 

Among those aged between 36 and 50, who are in the prime of their working lives and possibly raising children, the two parties are locked in a tie. Compared to last month the PL has gained four points while the PN has gained five points. 

The PN is also leading Labour by six points among younger voters aged between 16 and 35 years of age. Compared to last month the PN has gained two points while Labour has gained one point.   

A relative majority in both the  16- to 35-year-old age group (42.1%) and the 36- to 50-year-old age group (36%)  are also intent on not voting.  This clearly suggests that the budget had little effect in swaying younger voters towards Labour. 

PL winning in four of six regions 

Regionally, the largest percentage of non-voters is  found in the politically nuanced Western region (34%) and the Labour leaning South-eastern region (33%). 

The survey shows Labour leading the PN in all regions except the North Harbour and the Western regions. 

The survey shows little change in the South-eastern district where the PL still leads by a meagre seven points despite the PM’s focus on environmental grievances in localities like Marsaskala. 

Labour also enjoys a significant 12-point lead in Gozo. Labour has also established a surprising eight-point lead in the Nationalist leaning Northern region but still trails the PN by 10 points in the North Harbour region which includes major towns like Sliema, Qormi and Birkirkara. 

In a further indication that Labour has made inroads among pensioners, a  breakdown by education shows the PL commanding an absolute majority of 57% among those with a primary level of education, up from 48% last month.  But among respondents with a secondary level of education, Labour’s lead decreases to just four points as was the case a month ago. 

The PN is also leading by three points among the post-secondary educated and by six points among the tertiary educated.


Trust Barometer: Abela leads by 15 points, Grech gains four points

Opposition leader Bernard Grech has seen his trust rating improve from a dismal 20% to a more respectable 24%, compared to last month’s MaltaToday survey. 

But despite a marginal one-point drop in his trust rating, Prime Minister Robert Abela still enjoys a substantial 15-point lead over Grech.  

Grech’s gains mainly correspond to a 2.5-point drop among respondents who trust neither political leader. But despite this marginal decrease, nearly four in 10 respondents do not trust either leader.

Abela scores higher among pensioners 

In the budget aftermath the survey also shows a generational divide, with Robert Abela strengthening his position among pensioners and Grech consolidating his position among those under 50. 

In a reflection of the positive reception of the budget among pensioners, Abela has seen his trust rating increase by 5 points from 46% to 51% among those over 65. In contrast Grech gains only a point in this category. 

But Grech has registered gains among those aged 36-50, with his trust rating increasing from 12% to 20%. In contrast, Abela’s trust rating in this age group – which is more likely to include respondents with dependent children who are at the peak of their career – has decreased from 37% to 31%. Abela’s trust rating has also decreased by 4 points among younger respondents.

4 in 10 PN voters’ distrust Grech 

Moreover, in a sign that Bernard Grech’s leadership remains on shaky ground, a staggering 42% (down from 43% last month) of PN voters in the 2022 general election, trust neither of the two political leaders.  

Even among respondents who currently intend voting PN, a substantial 37% trust neither Grech nor Abela. Only 46% of PN voters in 2022 trust their party leader more than Abela.  

Grech’s poor trust rating suggests that he remains his party’s weakest link in contrast to Abela who enjoys a higher level of trust among his party’s voters (66%). 

And while Grech makes some inroads among PL voters in 2022, 8% of which trust him more than the Prime Minister, an even higher percentage of PN voters (13%) trust Abela more than Grech. 

This suggests that Grech is not only failing to make any significant inroads among Labour voters but that Abela enjoys a greater appeal among voters of the opposite party than Grech does. 

Moreover, Grech remains less trusted than Abela in the crucial category of non-voters. 

In this strategic category, both leaders have registered an increase in their trust rating over last month’s figures. While Abela’s trust rating has increased by 8 points from 16% last month to 24% now, Grech’s trust rating has increased by 5 points to reach 10%. 

This could reflect the greater exposure of both leaders in hard hitting speeches in parliament delivered in the past week. 

Still, despite retaining a substantial lead over Grech, the situation is far from rosy for Abela, who is still distrusted by a substantial 27% of Labour voters in 2022, as was the case last month.

Majority of young and tertiary educated distrust both leaders 

The survey also shows that 53.4% of 16-35 year-olds and 49.2% of those aged 36-50 trust neither Abela nor Grech.  

But the percentage of respondents who trust neither leader falls to 37% among the 51-65 group and just 16% among over 65-year-olds. 

The survey suggests that distrust in the current crop of political leaders is strongest among those with a higher level of education. In fact among those with a tertiary education 51% trust neither of the two leaders. Abela leads Grech, among voters of all levels of education but the gap increases from just 3 points among the tertiary educated to a substantial 31 points among those with a primary level of education, a category mostly composed of pensioners.

Trust boost for Abela in Gozo 

A relative majority of respondents in three regions, namely the Northern Harbour (38%), the Western region (47%), the Northern region (44%), trust neither of the two leaders.  

Abela enjoys a lead over Grech in all six regions. But his level of trust varies from just 32% in the north harbour region to 45% in Gozo. 

Significantly in Gozo, Abela enjoys a substantial 24-point lead over Grech. Compared to last month Abela has seen his trust rating in Gozo increase by 6 points. 

Surprisingly Grech’s worst performance is in the traditionally leaning northern district where he enjoys the trust of only 18% of respondents.


The survey was carried out was carried between 1 November 2023 and 9 November 2023 for which 637 people opted to complete the survey.  Stratified random sampling based on region, gender and age was used.  A fraction of those who opted to complete the survey chose not to answer a few of the questions for which they are treated as missing values.  Missing values analysis was then carried to determine the type of technique to replace the values. A combination of logistic and linear regression with predictive mean matching was used to replace certain missing values completing and enlarging the sample set from which the final results were extracted. The margin of error for this result 3.85% for a confidence interval of 95%.