MEP rankings: Gains for Sant and Frank Psaila, Dalli and Metsola lead parties

Find out who the top MEP candidates are in the second MaltaToday survey mapping out voter choices for the European elections

Former prime minister Alfred Sant has surged in the polls and is now running neck and neck with fellow Labour MEP Miriam Dalli.

Sant and Dalli each enjoyed the support of 8.6% of the electorate in the second MaltaToday survey asking people to indicate their first-choice candidate in the upcoming European Parliament election.

Sant’s rise saw him overtake PN MEP Roberta Metsola, who placed third in the overall rankings with 5.1%. PN candidate Frank Psaila placed fourth with 4.4%.

The survey was held between 28 March and 4 April.

Sant climbed three-and-a-half points since the March survey as his election campaign started becoming more visible. Dalli saw her share of first preference votes increase by half-a-percentage point.

Metsola’s vote share decreased. The incumbent shaved off 0.8 points on her March result. But Psaila, a lawyer and presenter on NET TV, saw his share of the vote increase by 1.6 points as the newcomer strengthened his claim on the PN’s second seat.

The fifth-ranked overall candidate was PL newcomer Josianne Cutajar, a lawyer, who obtained 1.8% of first preference votes.

PN MEP David Casa was joint sixth in the overall rankings with newcomer Peter Agius. Each scored 1.3% of first preference votes.

Agius, who has built his campaign on rural issues and the agricultural sector, had not featured in the first survey last month.

Casa, the only candidate who has been elected in each of the MEP elections held since 2004, has had to contend with a bad run so far. If the PN loses its third seat, he could be left out in the cold but even if the party retains it, Casa could be fighting for his place with the likes of Agius.

The results are, however, heavily conditioned by the fact that almost half the electorate (49.3%) has not made up its mind on which of the candidates will get its number one vote.

Apart from Dalli, Sant and Metsola, all other featured candidates registered results that fell below the 5% margin of error.

Many candidates failed to get a mention, which does not mean they will receive no votes. It is an indication that their personal electoral base may not be strong enough to be captured by the survey.

While the results are a clear indication of who the three front runners are, the election outcome will be determined by the transfer of votes at every count. A candidate who may start off at the first count with a few votes could still make it by inheriting votes from candidates that are either elected or eliminated.

Political allegiance

A breakdown of the results by political allegiance shows that Miriam Dalli was marginally ahead of Alfred Sant among those who voted for the Labour Party in the 2017 election.

She received the support of 15.8% of PL voters while Sant received 15.3% support.

Josianne Cutajar was the third most popular Labour candidate among PL voters with 3.5%, followed by Alex Agius Saliba (1.9%) and Cyrus Engerer (0.3%).

The ranking of PL candidates among Labour voters was similar to the overall results, a pattern observed among PN candidates as well.

Roberta Metsola received the support of 11.4% of people who voted PN in the last election, with Frank Psaila coming hot on her heels at 11.2%.

Peter Agius and David Casa came head to head among PN voters, scoring 3.4% and 3.3% respectively.

PN MP David Stellini, who only announced his MEP candidature last month, scored 1% among Nationalist voters and incumbent Francis Zammit Dimech 0.9%.

Miriam Dalli vs Alfred Sant

The strong showing by Miriam Dalli and Alfred Sant ensures both will be elected MEPs but the race to the top of the party list may be a tight one. This is how their voters compare.

Miriam Dalli enjoys an evenly spread voter base across genders and age, something that is less apparent in the support for Alfred Sant.

Dalli has the support of 8.5% of women and 8.7% of men. She has a spread of support that ranges from a low of 5.5% among young voters to a high of 10.7% among those aged 51 to 65.

The short range means that her voter base is more evenly spread out across all age groups, which gives her broader appeal.

Sant’s support is stronger among men (10.5%) than women (6.2%). His support ranges from a low of 3% among the young to a high of 20.1% among the elderly.

The results showed that Sant had less of an even spread in support across the different age groups, unlike Dalli.

Roberta Metsola vs Frank Psaila

Roberta Metsola lost some steam but remains the PN’s strongest candidate. And in what could turn out to be a battle royale for the PN’s second MEP seat, Frank Psaila has forged ahead. This is how their voters compare.

Roberta Metsola and Frank Psaila both enjoy stronger support among men and falter among the elderly in voter profiles that are broadly similar.

Metsola enjoyed the support of 5.7% male voters and 4.4% female voters. Psaila scored 5.6% among men and 3% among women.

Among those aged 18 and 35, support for Psaila was slightly higher than Metsola’s. The newcomer received the support of 6.2% of young voters while the incumbent received 5.8%.

However, Metsola registered a far better result among those aged between 36 and 50. She scored 5.3% against Psaila’s dismal 1.5%.

In the category of voters aged between 51 and 65, Psaila was ahead of Metsola. Psaila scored 7.6% and Metsola 6.4%.

But both PN candidates crashed among those aged 65 and over. Metsola registered the support of 1.8%, while Psaila failed to score points.

Methodology

The survey was carried out between Thursday 28 March and Thursday 4 April. 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 5% for a confidence interval of 95%. In the question that asked people to indicate their first choice MEP candidate, the names were not prompted.

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