MaltaToday Survey | Labour hit by voter abstention as lead cut to 23,000 votes

FULL DATA | Labour suffering from higher voter abstention within its ranks compared to 6 February survey

Robert Abela’s trust rating has continued to decline and now stands at 41.9% but Bernard Grech fails to capitalise with his rating dropping to 29%.
Robert Abela’s trust rating has continued to decline and now stands at 41.9% but Bernard Grech fails to capitalise with his rating dropping to 29%.

An election held now will see the Labour Party winning with 52.5% and an advantage of almost 23,000 votes over the Nationalist Party, MaltaToday’s first survey for the election shows.

The PN’s support stands at 44.9%, while that for the small parties collectively stands at 2.6%. The share of valid votes cast (not turn out) is expected to be 84%, a considerable drop from the 90.9% it was in the last general election.

MaltaToday’s first survey of the electoral campaign shows Labour suffering from higher voter abstention within its ranks, when compared to the 6 February survey.

Additionally, Robert Abela loses three points on the trust barometer but remains 13 points ahead of Bernard Grech.

The survey was held between 21 and 26 February, in the first week of the electoral campaign marked by candidate desertions from the PN, generous tax proposals from the PL, a government U-turn on the Marsaskala marina, the PN manifesto and outbreak of war in Ukraine.

The PL enjoys an advantage of 22,645 votes over the PN, a gap that is 12,635 votes less than what it was in the 2017 general election. The PL’s vote share is 2.5 points less than the 2017 election.

The PN’s share of the vote is 1.2 points higher than what it was in the last general election, benefitting little from the apparent discontent with the PL.

The extrapolated results are derived by excluding non-voters but re-assigning unsure voters to the parties they voted for in the last general election.

Voter abstention hits Labour

The numbers suggest that over the past month the PL has suffered from higher voter abstention – voters telling us they will not vote – and voters shifting to third parties.

There are 7.3% of 2017 PL voters who now say they will not vote, up from 5.1% in the February survey. Additionally, 1.6% of PL voters now say they will vote for third parties, an increase from the 0.9% last month.

While the PL loses 3.5% of its 2017 voters to the PN, this shift is neutralised by an opposite movement of 5.1% of PN voters in 2017, who now say they will vote Labour.

The PN sees a slight drop in 2017 voters within its ranks who will not vote. The survey shows that 6.8% of 2017 PN voters will not vote, down from 7.5% in February. Additionally, the PN witnesses fewer voters shifting to third parties – 0.4% now as opposed to 1.9% in February.

But the Opposition party is still losing more voters to the PL than it gains from its rival, leaving it in a static position.

New voters are twice more likely to vote PL than PN (20.7% vs 10.5%) but the bulk (35.4%) say they are unsure who to vote for.

Regions evenly split

The survey’s raw result shows the PL ahead of the PN among men and women, across all age groups and in three of the six regions.

However, numbers within each of these subsets have to be interpreted with caution since margins of error are much higher than for the overall result.

Among young voters aged between 16 and 35, the PL scores 30.2% against the PN’s 28.2%. The numbers show the PN gaining ground in this age group when compared to the February survey.

The tide has turned back towards the PL among pensioners with the party registering 43.8% of support against the PN’s 36.4%. In February, the 65+ voter category was the only one in which support for the PN eclipsed that for the PL.

On a geographical basis, the regions are evenly split, although the PL is the only party to register absolute majorities in two of the three regions it wins.

The PL is ahead in the Northern Harbour, the South East and Southern Harbour. It loses Gozo for the first time in many months as the share of undecided voters in Gozo hits 29.9%.

The PN is ahead in Gozo with 32.8% and also beats Labour in the Northern and Western regions.

Abela continues to lose trust but Grech remains stuck

Robert Abela’s trust rating has continued to decline and now stands at 41.9% but Bernard Grech fails to capitalise with his rating dropping to 29%.

MaltaToday’s first trust barometer of the election campaign sees Abela losing 3.2 points over the last survey at the start of February and Grech losing 1.3 points.

The share of respondents who are unsure who to trust has increased to 7.2% from 3.3%, while those who trust no one have remained stable at 21.9%.

The trust gap between the leaders stands at 12.9 points, a two-point decline since the February survey.

This is the third consecutive decline in the trust rating for the Labour leader. But Grech fails to make any inroads.

Abela is trusted more than Grech among women and men, across all age groups and in four of the six regions.

In Gozo, where party support sees the PN ahead, Abela manages to eclipse Grech with 36.7% versus 31.8%. Abela also wins the trust battle in the Northern Harbour, South East and Southern Harbour regions. Grech wins the battle in the Northern and Western regions

Young voters aged 16 to 35 trust Abela more than Grech (35.5% vs 27.3%). Abela’s best showing is among pensioners, where his trust reaches 51.6% against Grech’s 36.4%.

Among new voters, Abela is trusted almost five times more than Grech. Abela’s trust rating stands at 33.2% against Grech’s 7.5%. However, 31.4% of new voters, trust none of the leaders.

The vast majority of non-voters (76.1%) trust no one. Of significance is the fact that Abela is trusted by 9.4% of non-voters as opposed to 2.7% who trust Grech. This suggests that there are more potential Labour voters who will not vote.


The survey was carried out between Monday 21 February 2022 and Saturday 26 February 2022. 597 respondents opted to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate the Maltese demographic. The estimated margin of error is 4.3% for a confidence interval of 95% for the overall results. Demographic and sub-group breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.