MaltaToday Survey | How was Budget 2019 for you, and did you follow the speeches?

How was the Budget for you? We polled Malta and asked them about their reaction to the budget speeches by the Opposition leader and the Prime Minister

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna presenting Budget 2019
Finance Minister Edward Scicluna presenting Budget 2019

How do you rank whether a budget is good or bad? Well, the answer pretty much depends on how the budget measures have affected you. 

But people can also show altruism in that some will acknowledge a budget is good for the country, even if it may not have been so great on a personal level. 

Held in the aftermath of Budget 2019 and the subsequent speeches by Adrian Delia and Joseph Muscat, the November MaltaToday survey tried to gauge people’s reaction to the measures announced by the Finance Minister. 

We asked people to rank how good the budget was for them and the country. Responses on a scale from one to 10 were then grouped into three broad categories – low, medium and high. 

Good for you 

High 43.8%; Medium 38.9%; Low 9.5% 

The budget obtained a high rate of satisfaction with 43.8% of people indicating the highest ranks when asked whether they believed the budget was good for them. 

The next largest cohort (38.9%) displayed medium satisfaction with the budget, while 9.5% gave the budget a low satisfaction rate. 

And more women than men appeared to be highly satisfied with the budget. The survey showed that 47.5% of women gave the budget a high ranking as opposed to 40.6% of men. 

The best verdict was delivered by those aged 51 and over. Asked whether they felt the budget was good for them, 50.8% of people aged between 51 and 65 ranked the budget in the highest category. The result was stronger (53.9%) among those aged 65 and over where satisfaction with the budget ran the highest. 

On a regional basis, the budget’s strongest approval was registered in the Southern Harbour region where 60.9% of people ranked the financial exercise highly when asked whether it was good for them. 

There were no surprises when responses were broken down by political allegiance. Among those who voted for the Labour Party in the last election, 75.5% ranked the budget high, when asked whether they felt it was good for them.  

And while 21.7% of Labourites delivered a medium verdict, a measly 0.4% ranked the budget in the low category. 

The story was slightly different for Nationalist voters. While only 10.5% ranked the budget in the high category, the majority (55.3%) of Nationalist voters fell within the medium category. Those who ranked the budget low stood at 22.1%. 

Good for the country 

High 50.4%Medium 34.3%Low 6.7% 

The budget obtained better marks when people were asked whether it was good for the country. The high satisfaction rate stood at 50.4%, followed by 34.3% in the medium category. 

Once again, more women than men ranked the budget in the higher category: 51.5% versus 49.4%. 

The stronger verdicts from a country perspective were again registered among those aged 51 and over. Among those aged between 51 and 65, the budget was given a high ranking by 56.8%, with this figure shooting up to 60.6% among those aged 65 and older. 

At a political level, a whopping 85.6% of people who voted for the Labour Party in 2017, ranked the budget highly, with nobody falling within the low category. On the other hand, a majority of Nationalist Party voters (57.3%) fell within the medium category, while 13.4% and 16.5% fell within the high and low categories respectively. 

A tale of two speeches 

The budget reaction speeches by the Opposition leader and the Prime Minister may be a big event for the media but people appear to think otherwise. 

The MaltaToday survey found that less than half of the people followed the two speeches delivered back-to-back, a week after Edward Scicluna read out the budget. 

Joseph Muscat had a higher proportion of people who followed his impassioned speech, widely acknowledged as being one of his best in recent years. 

While 48% said, they followed Muscat’s budget reaction speech, the number was slightly less for Adrian Delia (44.2%). 

Interestingly, while Delia had a bigger male audience (45%) who said they followed his speech, Muscat had a stronger female following (50.1%). 

Young people in general were those least likely to follow the leaders’ budget speeches but Muscat got the edge over Delia in this cohort. 

While 30.3% of those aged between 18 and 35 said they followed the Prime Minister’s speech, the number dropped to 23.4% for the Opposition leader. 

Political allegiance appears to have translated into loyalty on budget speech night for Muscat but not the same can be said of Delia. 

The Prime Minister had 65.7% of those who voted for the PL in the last election and 32.5% of PN voters, following him on the night.  

Delia was less successful among PN voters with 42.7% saying they followed his speech. The PN leader attracted a bigger following from Labourites, with 50.5% saying they followed his speech. 

This may not be an entirely bad thing for Delia because he was talking to an audience he would need to convince but the numbers also suggest that Labourites may be more avid followers of the budget than PN supporters. 

A good speech, a bad speech 

Asked to rank how good the speeches were, Delia could only muster 21.3% in the high category with 39% falling in the medium grouping and 38.7% in the low category. 

Females ranked Delia’s speech better than males (26.2% vs 17.3%) while none of those aged between 18 and 35 who followed his speech ranked it in the high category. 

An absolute majority of PN voters (51%) ranked the speech in the high category with 4.6% ranking it in the low. 

As expected the vast majority of PL voters (62.4%) ranked Delia’s speech in the low category with only 1.8% falling within the high category. 

The results were significantly different for Muscat with 68.9% of people ranking his speech in the high category and only 8.5% putting it in the low category. 

There was no difference in appreciation between women and men, while 48.7% of the young placed Muscat’s speech in the high category. The highest approval rating was obtained among those aged between 51 and 65 with 79.9% classifying the speech in the high category. 

Muscat got a big thumb up among PL voters, with a stratospheric 95.3% ranking his speech in the high category. There were 7.5% of PN voters who did likewise. 

Surprisingly, the majority of PN voters (65.2%) ranked Muscat’s speech in the medium category. 

Methodology 

The survey was carried out between Monday 5 and Thursday 8 November. 597 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on gender, region and age was used to replicate the Maltese demographics. The estimated margin of error is 4.2% for a confidence interval of 95%. 

For the questions asking people to rank how good the budget and the speeches were, respondents were asked to provide a score on a scale from 1 to 10. The results were grouped into low (scores 1 to 3), medium (4 to 7) and high (8 to 10). 

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