MEP rankings | Miriam Dalli and Frank Psaila advance, Alfred Sant falters

The fourth MaltaToday survey asking people to indicate their first-choice candidate in Saturday’s European election sees four candidates ahead of the rest

From left to right: Miriam Dalli (PL), Roberta Metsola (PN), Frank Psaila (PN), Alfred Sant (PL)m David Casa (PN), Josianne Cutajar (PL)
From left to right: Miriam Dalli (PL), Roberta Metsola (PN), Frank Psaila (PN), Alfred Sant (PL)m David Casa (PN), Josianne Cutajar (PL)

Miriam Dalli has strengthened her grip on the top spot with 14.2% of respondents in a MaltaToday survey indicating her as their first-choice candidate for the European election.

The Labour MEP has seen her score increase by two points over the last survey published at the beginning of May.

Her performance was not replicated by fellow MEP and former prime minister Alfred Sant, who saw his support collapse to 4.5% from 8.8%.

Sant was at the centre of controversy over the past weeks when he used the statement “an eye for an eye” when referring to his Nationalist opponents. He also had a lacklustre performance on Xarabank when facing off with PN MEP David Casa.

Sant retained the second place behind Dalli within the Labour fold but dropped to fourth in the overall list.

Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola appears on track to be the second highest polling MEP candidate after Dalli, with 6.4% of respondents indicating her as their first-choice candidate. Metsola’s score remained unchanged since the start of May.

Hot on Metsola’s heels came Frank Psaila, who saw his support climb to 5.3% from 2.9% at the start of the month.
Psaila appears to have mustered strong enough support to stave off the stiff challenge for the PN’s second seat from incumbent David Casa, who registered an upward tick to 3.9%.

All the top four candidates – Dalli, Metsola, Psaila and Sant – have registered results that are above the margin of error, which stands at 4.2%. The survey was held between 9 May and 15 May.

The results of the survey are indicative of the candidates’ rankings at the first count and do not take into account vote transfers. This means that candidates with low rankings may still make it when votes of elected or eliminated candidates are transferred.

The results are also conditioned by the fact that 41.8% of voters are still unsure who to give their number one vote.

If the PL secures four seats, Josianne Cutajar and Alex Agius Saliba appear to be in pole position after Dalli and Sant. But vote transfers may change the nature of the race.

The contest is tougher on the PN side. If the party retains the third seat, Casa may make it but he could lose out if the PN clinches only two seats.

Norman Lowell, who is Imperium Europa’s sole candidate, registered 1.3% and may emerge as the strongest third party candidate on Saturday.

Projection still sees Labour holding on to fourth seat

Six days before the European election, MaltaToday is projecting that the Labour Party will win four seats against the Nationalist Party’s two.

The projection is based on the survey being published today, which is the last poll before Saturday’s vote.

Translating the survey results into actual votes shows that the gap between the PL and the PN will be in the range of 48,558 votes.

The PL is projected to hold on to four quotas at the first count, while the PN will have two quotas. The projection shows the PN still falling short of the third seat despite an improved result.

To retain the third seat, the PN will need to ensure that it does not lose votes during the transfer process, inherit the votes of third parties and hope that PL voters ditch their party’s plea to vote for all Labour candidates.

Step 1: Eligible voters

There are 371,625 Maltese people aged 16 and over registered as voters for the European Parliament election. These include EU citizens in Malta who will vote here.

Step 2: Basis on which EP vote is projected

For the purpose of this exercise, the EP election result is being modelled on the findings of the mid-May MaltaToday survey. The numbers in the brackets represent the change over the start-of-May results.

The raw MT survey results produced the following relevant numbers:

No vote: 9.2% (-0.6); Don’t know: 18.6% (+6.2); No answer: 0.9% (-0.9);

PL: 41.3% (-2.8); PN: 27.9% (-1.1); Others: 2.2% (-0.8).

If the people who did not declare a voting intention are removed from the equation, the projected results for the political parties would be:
PL: 57.8% (-0.2); PN: 39.1% (+1); Others: 3.1% (-0.9)

Step 3: Key assumptions

Those who said they will not vote, are unsure and did not answer – a total of 28.7% (+4.7) – will stay at home on 25 May. This gives a turnout of 71.3% (-4.7), which is lower than the turnout of 75% in the last EP election of 2014.
It is assumed that from those who turn out to vote, 98% will cast a valid vote. This percentage is based on the last EP election in 2014.
These figures will give a national quota of 37,096 votes, which is the number a candidate has to reach to get elected.
The quota is calculated by dividing the number of valid votes cast by seven (one more than the number of seats that have to be elected), plus one.

Eligible voters:                            371,625
Turnout at 71.3%:                       264,969
Valid votes cast 98%:                 259,670
Quota of votes to get elected:    37,096

Step 4: Projected seats at mid-May 2019

The projected results obtained by the political parties in the MT survey are used to calculate the projected number of votes they could be expected to receive in the election. This is worked as a percentage of valid votes cast.

The votes projected for each party are divided by the quota to determine how many quotas the party is expected to have totted up at the first count. This is indicative of the number of seats that are likely to go the party’s way.

The results of the 2014 MEP election show how the number of projected seats the parties started with at the first count was a good reflection of how they eventually ended up. The quota in 2014 was 35,979.

Methodology

The survey was carried out between Thursday 9 May and Wednesday 15 May. 849 respondents opted to complete the telephone 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%.

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