A year of surveys: PL holds on to gap as crisis unfolds

The prolongation of the government’s crisis in parliament first helped the PL to widen its lead from 9 points in January to 14 points in March but then narrowed to 8 points in the last survey of the year.

Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Opposition leader Joseph Muscat.
Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Opposition leader Joseph Muscat.

2012 started with Labour enjoying a 9-point lead over the PN amidst rumours of an imminent election sparked by a Franco Debono threat to bring the government down following the January Cabinet reshuffle. However, 2012 also ended with the PL enjoying an 8-point lead after the government lost the budget vote and elections were called.

This suggests that little has changed over the past months with Labour holding on to its lead.

But in reality the prolongation of the crisis after the government survived a confidence vote in January at first worked in the PL's favour with the gap increasing to a staggering 14 points in March and than against it, with the gap being narrowed to 11 points in May following the no confidence vote in Carmelo Mifsud Bonnici.

While expectations of an imminent election boosted Labour's fortunes in Autumn with the gap remaining steady at 12 points in the months of September and October, the two post-budget surveys saw the PN narrowing the gap first to 9 and than to 8 points.

The PN reached its lowest ebb in February just after surviving a confidence vote thanks to the Speaker's casting vote and after Gonzi called for a leadership contest in which he stood as the sole candidate. Then, the party attracted the support of 22% of respondents. 

Support for the PL peaked in March (39%) and again in September and October when the party surpassed the 40% mark.  But the party registered its lowest level of support in December when it garnered 31%. This suggests that the party was fully geared for an election after the summer recess but the prolongation of the government's life to December has had a negative impact on Labour.

Support for the Greens remained roughly the same oscillating between 1.3 and 2.3 percent, with the greens seeing a peak in support in March on the eve of local elections and in the beginning of December.

The number of undecided shot up from 25% in October to 29% immediately after the budget to a staggering 39% after the government lost its majority.

Surprisingly, Gonzi scored his highest trust rating (35%) in January at the peak of his first confrontation with Franco Debono but subsequently lost 7 points after surviving the first confidence vote of the year, during which Debono abstained and an internal vote in the party to confirm Gonzi as leader was called. 

In the next months, the Prime Minister's trust rating oscillated between 28% and 32%.

Both Gonzi and Muscat registered their lowest trust ratings in the second week of December after the government lost its majority in parliament.

On his part Muscat's trust ratings peaked on the eve of local elections in March and in October where his trust rating surpassed the 45% mark.  However, after the budget for 2013 was presented, Muscat saw a 7-point drop in his trust rating.

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Agree wholly with GL Calleja. The PN played it's card...Dr. Simon Busuttil. In reality he is nothing new. He has shown great arrogance by setting that the PL have no right to govern. Does this demonstrate his European democratic credentials? Realistically we can expect the difference between the two parties to go down to around 4% closer to the election. The most important thing is that any change is better than the current situation where we have a government geared to serve the party and not the citizen. We want a better future...the PN cannot offer this at present. It will have to change in opposition.
Polls can give an indication but nothing is cast in stone. If one looks at the statistics of the last 9 elections one can see how the core remains the same but its that percentage of so-called floating voters that ultimately decide the fate of the nation. Labour had a good margin coming into the 2008 electoral contest only to be pipped by 1580 votes (which was incidentally less than the voted AD added over their 2003 tally)! PN know they are behind and are working to catch up. The gap is not as big as it was but a gap remains. PL need to avoid shooting themselves in the foot because whoever wins it will want to do it with more than a 1 seat majority which eventuality would them vulnerable to rogue MPs!
Polls are can be very fickle and very selective.I think the big change came when Simon Busuttil was elected as Deputy PM and that was very obvious. The next change will come after the debate between Mr Busuttil and Mr Grech. Polls are an estimate guess and the real test comes on March 9. That is when the citizen is afforded an individual vote to do with it as he or she pleases. It does not matter much who gets elected as long as the newly elected leaders will get us out of this corrupt rut we find ourselves into. We have to eradicate the corruption that is within our government and the Government has to start working in the interest of the citizen instead of the party. Take the politics away and we are all citizens who expect nothing less than respect and transparency from our leaders. This has been lacking all through the years and it has to change so we can all enjoy a true democracy.
Ir-risposta ta' guzeppi tal-mosta ghall-haiku ta' franco debono il-ktieb tal-haiku gdid - "il-haiku skont Guzeppi tal-Mosta" http://guzeppitalmosta.blogspot.com/2013/01/il-haiku-skont-guzeppi-tal-mosta.html