MaltaToday Survey | Muscat’s trust rating shoots back up as Labour-PN gap widens yet again

Muscat and Labour soar: this month's survey may have captured the people’s reaction to Muscat’s energising speech a fortnight ago when he affirmed his intention to continue leading the PL, at least until the European elections in 2019

Muscat enjoys a massive 33-point advantage over Opposition leader Adrian Delia despite the Nationalist Party leader’s improved performance
Muscat enjoys a massive 33-point advantage over Opposition leader Adrian Delia despite the Nationalist Party leader’s improved performance

Joseph Muscat’s trust rating has shot back up to November levels in line with the Labour Party’s resurgence, a MaltaToday survey shows.

In just a month since the last trust barometer, the Prime Minister’s rating has gone from 41% to 52.7%.

Held last week, the survey may have captured the people’s reaction to Muscat’s energising speech a fortnight ago when he affirmed his intention to continue leading the PL, at least until the European Parliament election next year.

Muscat enjoys a massive 33-point advantage over Opposition leader Adrian Delia despite the Nationalist Party leader’s improved performance.

At 20.2%, Delia’s trust rating increased by almost five points in just a month but this was still not enough to mitigate the Prime Minister’s meteoric rise in the polls.

Muscat is trusted the most across all regions apart from Gozo, where Delia obtains a minor victory.

Victories and mishaps

Gozo represents Delia’s best performance, registering a trust level of 33.5% against Muscat’s 29.1%. This could possible signal the end of hostilities in the sister island between supporters of failed leadership candidate Chris Said and Delia’s backers.

But Gozo only represents a pyrrhic victory for Delia as he continues to trail the Prime Minister in all other regions.

And the results for the South Eastern region may even suggest that voters are not too keen on Delia’s opposition to the development of the American University of Malta’s campus at Zonqor Point. The survey published last month had not captured the parliamentary debate held on 8 February on the Opposition’s motion to return the land at Zonqor back to the public.

In this region, which includes Marsaskala and Zejtun, Muscat’s trust rating soars to 72.2%, comparable to the PL’s strong performance. On the flipside, Delia’s trust rating reaches its lowest point at 12.8%.

However, the PN leader registers his next best performance after Gozo in the Southern Harbour region – traditionally a PL stronghold. In this region, Delia’s trust rating stands at 23.7% while Muscat’s stands at 51.5%.

The Prime Minister remains most trusted across all age groups, while Delia’s highest trust rating is among the elderly where he registers 32.4%.

The results show that Delia has recouped some of the lost territory with PN voters. He now enjoys the trust of 48.3% of voters who voted PN in 2017 and 66.3% of those who declared they will vote PN if an election is held tomorrow.

But significantly, Muscat is trusted more than Delia by 8.9% of 2017 PN voters.

Labour soars

The Labour Party has recovered lost ground over the past month, as support levels returned to the highs witnessed last November, a MaltaToday survey has found.

Carried out between 26 February and 1 March, the findings show almost a 24-point gap between the PL and the Nationalist Party.

Since the survey published last month, the PL regained almost eight points, while the PN shed three points as it returned to the downward spiral.

According to the survey, the PL’s support currently stands at 49.6% and the PN’s at 25.9% with the Democratic Party registering a performance of 2.1%.

If the results are re-calculated on the basis of declared voting intention by removing those who said they will not vote (11.1%) and those who are not sure (10.6%), the PL could be looking at support levels in the region of 63% and a massive gap of around 90,000 votes on the PN.

The survey found that the PL leads comfortably across all regions, scoring its highest result in the South Eastern region, where it enjoys the support of 69.3% against the PN’s 18.5%.

The PL’s lowest score is in the Western region at 38.9% but it remains miles ahead of the PN, which registered 18.6% of support.

The PN’s best result is in Gozo at 32.4%, which could be indicative of a healing rift following Adrian Delia’s leadership victory over Gozitan MP Chris Said last September. The PN’s worst performance is in the Northern region, where it scores a measly 16.6% against the PL’s 46.2%.

PD leaves its mark

The Democratic Party has for the first time since last October registered a creditable performance, which came at the expense of Alternattiva Demokratika.

The overall result sees PD obtaining 2.1% support and AD 0.8%.

The PD, which elected two MPs in the last election after contesting in coalition with the PN, had its strongest showings in the Northern Harbour region (3.2%) and the Western region (3.6%).

Both these regions comprise most of the localities that helped elect PD MPs Marlene Farrugia and Godfrey Farrugia. The PD also registered a significant 2.3% in Gozo.

It is evident that the PD’s rise in the polls came at the expense of AD, which registered its best performance in the Northern Harbour region, obtaining just 1.6%.

Of those who voted AD in the last election, 37.5% said they would vote PD if an election is held tomorrow.

Despite contesting the last election in coalition with the PN, the Orange party only managed to attract 2.1% of those who voted PN in the last election. PD’s popularity is highest among those aged 18-35, where it registered 3.6%.

Methodological note

The survey was conducted between 26 February and 1 March. A total of 501 respondents participated in the survey. Respondents were chosen using stratified random sampling based on age, region and gender. Moreover, multiple imputation by chained equations for missing data or non-answers by respondents was invoked. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.2% for a confidence interval of 95%.

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