Divorce emerges as third most important issue facing the country

Divorce has emerged as the third most pressing concern for the country according to a MaltaToday survey held last week.

The survey shows that 16% of respondents mentioned divorce as one of the two most important issues facing the country.

Concern on divorce is even higher among Nationalist voters but quite low among Labour voters. While 27% of Nationalist voters consider divorce as one of the two most pressing concerns for the country, only 6% of Labour voters think likewise.

This is quite surprising considering that surveys have repeatedly shown that Labour voters tend to agree with divorce more than Nationalist voters.

This could be an indication that Labour voters are more hard-pressed by bread and butter issues like the cost of living and employment. It could also be an indication that Nationalist voters are more responsive to a debate initiated by Nationalist backbencher Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando, which impinges directly on their party’s core beliefs.

But it could also be an indication that divorce is more of a do or die issue among Nationalist-leaning conservatives who oppose its introduction.

And for the second time since MaltaToday started conducting its surveys, concern on the cost of living has been overtaken by concern on utility bills which now emerges as the top concern of the Maltese.

In fact concern on utility bills has increased by a further 8 percentage points since August.

National concern on the increasing energy bill had already shot up 17% in June 2008, when the surcharge was still in place, to 33% in 2009 following the introduction of the new tariff system.

Following the compensation given following the latest tariff increase, the number of those who consider utility bills as one of their two top concerns declined from 50% to 46% from March to August, only to rise to a record 54% in November.

On the other hand, concern on the cost of living has remained at an all-time low of 42% – down by 25 percentage points since March 2009, possibly reflecting a drop in prices in the past months. However, this could also indicate that people consider utility bills as a more pressing concern.

Concern on the cost of living is remarkably higher among Labour voters (53.4%) than Nationalist (30.2%) and undecided voters (42.2%).

On the other hand concern on utility bills is expressed by all categories of voters in nearly equal measure.

While concern on the cost of living is falling, concern on low wages has reached an all time high of 15% up from 7% in March and 11% in August. Among undecided voters concern on low wages rises to 19%.

The number of respondents who consider immigration as one of their two main concerns has increased slightly from 3% to nearly 5% although concern on immigration is a far cry from the 27% registered in March 2009 when boatloads of immigrants began arriving in winter after being rescued in Maltese waters.

Concern on the environment has dropped from 6% to 3% between August and November.

Despite the prominence of corruption cases in the media only 2.4% (up from 1.2% in August) mentioned corruption as one of their two top concerns. The number is slightly higher among Labour voters, 4% of which consider corruption as a major concern. On the other hand concern on Air Malta is higher among Nationalist Party voters.

As a direct consequence of the budget 2.7% expressed their concern on the increase in the price of petrol.

More in Data & Surveys
Cost of living includes utilities as far as I know. Probably the cost of living item in the list refers solely to food or grocery items. If one combines the two items, 40% of PN voters and 55% of Labour voters seem to be concerned about it. Only 4% of Labour voters are bothered by claims of corruption, while PN voters are not cncerned at all.
Taliban-like laws apply within the EU As the world argues over yet another motion from the Islamic bloc at the UN Human Rights Council that seeks to restrict free speech by introducing a global blasphemy law and little old Malta quietly interprets a religious law so oppressive it might put the Taliban to shame. Last week, six young people narrowly escaped a prison sentence because they dressed up as nuns at a carnival. They had been charged under Articles 163–164 of the Malta Criminal Code, which provides that: 163. Whosoever by words, gestures, written matter, whether printed or not, or pictures or by some other visible means, publicly vilifies the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion which is the religion of Malta, or gives offence to the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion by vilifying those who profess such religion or its ministers, or anything which forms the object of, or is consecrated to, or is necessarily destined for Roman Catholic worship, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from one to six months. 164. Whosoever commits any of the acts referred to in the last preceding article against any cult tolerated by law, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from one to three months. The Magistrate who heard the original case against the carnival-goers said the youngsters were not wearing crosses and the costumes did not constitute a “sacred garment” and therefore the law didn’t apply. However, the Attorney General didn’t agree and appealed the Magistrate’s decision to the Court of Criminal Appeal, which ruled: The mere fact of dressing up as nun, even if for carnival, but without wearing any religious symbol, cannot reasonably be considered as amounting to public vilification of the Roman Catholic Religion, or of those belonging to such religion, or of its ministers, or of anything which forms the object of, or is consecrated to, or is necessarily destined for Roman Catholic worship. However, if the wearing of such a habit were accompanied with such circumstances of fact, words or gestures which objectively amount to vilification, then there would be an offence in terms of article 163. Cross reference: The Police v. Rokku Abdilla et Criminal Court 13/01/1962. The Catholic Church, therefore, retains its special right to persecute and silence its critics on the island of Malta – which, incredibly, is a member of the “we-support-free-speech-equality-and-diversity” European Union. http://www.secularism.org.uk/115062.html