MaltaToday Survey | Joseph Muscat slips as Adrian Delia posts meek recovery

The MaltaToday April trust barometer released today gives Adrian Delia some reprieve in a month where his credibility was challenged by fresh information on money laundering allegations

The MaltaToday April trust barometer released today gives Adrian Delia some reprieve in a month where his credibility was challenged by fresh information on money laundering allegations. Kurt Sansone reports.

Adrian Delia has regained some of the lost ground since December with the latest MaltaToday survey putting his trust rating at 21.5%.

The Opposition leader gained almost six points in the April survey. The gains come on the back of a dismal showing last month when he registered 15.9% on the trust barometer. Delia’s trust is now at February levels.

This result represents the first upward tick for Delia since the beginning of the year. Delia’s trust rating in December stood at 24.7% but the Nationalist Party leader experienced two successive drops in the February and March surveys.

The relative improvement came at a time when Delia faced renewed scrutiny over his involvement some 13 years ago as a lawyer to Maltese individuals who ran a prostitution ring in London.

The fresh information leaked from a report compiled by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit showing bank transfers that passed through a Jersey bank account held by Delia does not appear to have deepened his woes.

It remains to be seen whether the latest improvement will be maintained over the coming months, given Delia’s erratic track record.

The PN leader’s trust level over the course of more than a year has never gone beyond 27.2%, achieved in May 2018.

The gap between him and the Prime Minister has dropped to 28 points from 38 points a month earlier – an improvement but still a chasm.

The survey found that Joseph Muscat lost five points in his trust rating and now stands at 49.6%.

It is the first time in eight months that Muscat’s trust rating dropped below the halfway mark at a time of renewed speculation on the Prime Minister’s future.

The result is unlikely to cause concern because it is the previous trust levels running at almost 55% that were extraordinarily high. Muscat’s lowest trust rating was achieved in February 2018 when he scored 41%.

Despite his slip, Muscat still trumps Delia across all age groups, male and female voters, and all regions.

The Prime Minister registered his highest trust rating among those aged 65 and over (63%). Delia’s strongest showing was also among those aged 65+, recording a trust level of 25.4%.

Among those aged between 18 and 35, Muscat scored 43.1% and Delia 22.7%.

Ahead across all regions

Muscat comes ahead of Delia across all regions in Malta and Gozo, a pattern that has been maintained for quite a stretch.

Muscat’s highest trust rating at 60% is registered in the Southern Harbour region, composed of localities with strong Labour leanings.

His lowest, at 43.1%, was achieved in the Northern Harbour region, composed largely of localities with Nationalist tendencies.

Delia’s strongest showing was in the Western region, where his trust level ran at 36.5%. This was also the region where the gap between the two leaders – eight points – was the closest.

Delia’s weakest showing was in South Eastern region, where his trust rating stood at 10.6%.

In Gozo, the Prime Minister enjoyed a trust rating of 51.3%, while the Opposition leader registered a dismal 18.6% in this once PN stronghold.

Delia’s problematic Nationalists

A significant difference between both leaders is the level of trust they enjoy among people who voted for their respective parties in the last general election.

Muscat has retained the trust of 90.4% of PL 2017 voters, while Delia could only command the trust of 51.9% of PN 2017 voters.

There are 1.7% of PL 2017 voters, who now trust Delia but these are offset by 3.9% of PN voters who trust Muscat.

The PN leader’s problem is with Nationalist voters who insist they trust no one. At 36.6%, these voters pose a stiff challenge for a party that has tried over the past few months to bridge internal differences.

This contrasts with 6.2% of PL voters who now say they trust none of the two leaders.

PL leads by 17 points as the final lap approaches

The Labour Party enjoys a comfortable 17-point lead on the Nationalist Party just 48 days before the European Parliament election, a MaltaToday survey found.

The difference between both parties has remained stable since February when the MaltaToday survey started asking how people would vote in the May EP election.

Support for the PL stood at 41.8% in the latest survey, a drop of half a percentage point over the March survey. Support for the PN stood at 25.2%, a two-point drop.

The gap suggests that the PL could be on course to clinch four seats against the PN’s two.

Support for third parties appears to be negligible at this juncture with neither of the two established minor parties – Democratic Party and Alternattiva Demokratika – leaving their mark on the survey.

This does not mean they will get no votes but support for them appears to be thin.

Far-right candidate Norman Lowell, who will run under the banner of Imperium Europa, which was registered as a political party last month, has so far failed to make inroads.

The results for third parties have to be interpreted with caution though, because a zero result in the survey falls within the margin of error. This means their numbers could potentially fluctuate between zero and 5%.

Voters who said they will not vote in the election have stabilised at 13.8% but there was an increase to 17.3% in voters who were uncertain who to vote for.

The survey was conducted between Thursday 28 March and Thursday 4 April.

PL strong among women and elderly

The PL leads the PN across all age groups, both male and female voters, and all regions.

The closest gap between the major parties is among voters aged 18 to 35. The PL registered 28.6% of support against the PN’s 24.1%. But this cohort was also the one with highest number of voters who were uncertain who to vote for (24.4%) and who will not vote (20.4%).

The PL’s strongest showing was among elderly voters, where it scored 60.8% as opposed to the PN’s 25.3%.

The PN’s strongest showing was among those aged between 36 and 50 (26.7%), although it still trailed the PL, which registered 35%.

The PL appears to be more attractive to female voters than it is to men. While 46.1% of women voters support the PL, the number drops to 38.3% among men.

On the PN side, the ratio shifts with 23% being female voters and 26.9% male.

On a regional basis, the PL’s strongest showing was in the Southern Harbour (51.9%), followed by the South-Eastern region (46.1%).

The PN’s strongest showing was in the Western region (34.9%), followed by the Northern Harbour (32.8%).

The PL’s weakest result was in the Northern Harbour (36.3%), while the PN’s woes in the south were confirmed by the disastrous 6.9% it registered in the South-Eastern region.

Political allegiance

The PN leader’s woes among people who voted for his party in the 2017 election are not fully replicated at party level.

There are Nationalist voters who do not trust Delia but will still vote for the PN.

The survey found that 61.1% of PN 2017 voters will vote for the PN next May. The number is much higher for the PL with 77.5% of 2017 Labour voters reconfirming their support.

However, while 8.9% of PL voters said they will not vote, the equivalent score for PN voters stood at 13.2%.

Uncertainty among PN 2017 voters (21.6%) was almost double that of PL voters (11.1%).

This indicates that the PN has a lot more of convincing to do to bring out its voters.