Adrian Delia’s task: Fixing a fractured and disconnected PN

Adrian Delia has a lot of soul-searching to do as polls lay bare a deeply divided Nationalist Party. From MaltaToday’s latest survey, Kurt Sansone fleshes out the numbers that should have Delia scratching his head

Adrian Delia’s decision to break ranks with Simon Busuttil not only split the parliamentary group but also appears to have divided Nationalists, with the survey showing 33.7% of PN voters disagreeing with the stand
Adrian Delia’s decision to break ranks with Simon Busuttil not only split the parliamentary group but also appears to have divided Nationalists, with the survey showing 33.7% of PN voters disagreeing with the stand

THE PROBLEMS

PN voters lack trust in Delia: 34.3%

This represents Delia’s trust level among those who voted PN in 2017. When this is taken with the 28.2% of PN voters who say they trust no one, the numbers show the extent of Delia’s internal problems. Since becoming leader last year, Delia’s trust among PN voters has fluctuated wildly. From a low of 33.8% in February to a high of 61.8% in May, the numbers point to a very fickle PN electorate. This makes Delia’s work to win over the trust of the wider electorate harder since he still has to convince his own.

PN voters challenge Delia’s tough decisions: 38.7%

This represents the number of PN voters who agreed with Delia’s decision to ask his predecessor Simon Busuttil to suspend himself after the Egrant inquiry findings. The decision, possibly Delia’s toughest as leader, not only split the parliamentary group – several MPs publicly voiced their opposition – but also appears to have divided Nationalists, with the survey showing 33.7% of PN voters disagreeing with the stand. This could be indicative of a PN leadership that is out of touch with its own voter base but it also shows that Delia does not command blind loyalty within his party. This, in itself, may not be a bad thing but it means Delia needs immense effort to convince his own at a time when he is already finding it difficult to convince the wider electorate.

PN voters differ from the rest: 44.9%

This represents the number of PN voters who believe corruption should remain the party’s main battle cry. The PN leader has to bridge the differences between these Nationalists who want corruption to remain the main issue, and the 30.2% of PN voters who believe it should not.

Delia inherited a party that built its election campaign almost exclusively on good governance and corruption issues, which failed to resonate among the wider electorate. He now has to find the right formula to reach out to the rest of the electorate. In the aftermath of the Egrant inquiry, 45.7% of people believe corruption should not remain the PN’s main battle cry. With such contrasting views between committed PN voters and the rest of the electorate, Delia needs to step forward with his own direction that tries to reach out while not alienating his own supporters.

Unless indicated otherwise, the percentages are derived from the August MaltaToday survey published last Sunday. The survey was carried out between 27 July and 2 August, in the aftermath of the Egrant inquiry findings.

KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS

These are the three numbers the PN should be looking at to determine how successful its performance is on a national level.

National support: 27%

This represents the PN’s current support. Over the past 10 months it has fluctuated between a low of 20.7% in November last year to a high of 32.1% in May. The PN has trailed the Labour Party consistently with the gap ranging between 13 points in February and 29.1 points last November. The current gap is 25 points. At these levels, the PN is in deeper waters than it was before the June 2017 election.

Vote losses: 21.2%

This represents people who voted PN in the last election and who now say will vote for the PL. This is partly mitigated by 9.8% of PL voters in the last election who say they will shift to PN. The end result of these movements still sees the PN losing votes to its rival more than a year after a bruising election result.

Delia’s trust rating: 14.8%

This represents Delia’s current trust rating. Since becoming leader in September last year, Delia’s highest-ever trust rating was achieved in May when he polled 27.2%. The gap between him and Joseph Muscat has remained persistently high. Delia has consistently been less popular than his own party, a situation experienced by his predecessor, Simon Busuttil.

More in National

Get access to the real stories first with the digital edition

Subscribe