MaltaToday Survey reveals a quartet of concerns: Traffic, environment, foreigners and corruption

Maltese society is having to contend with new problems created by rapid economic expansion that is leading to a construction boom, more people coming to live here and additional pressure on natural resources

Traffic is one the electorate's top concerns, a MaltaToday survey has found
Traffic is one the electorate's top concerns, a MaltaToday survey has found

Traffic remains the top concern but it is dwindling, as opposed to people’s preoccupation with environmental degradation, which is worsening, a MaltaToday survey found.

Traffic and roads topped the list, with 16.6% of people identifying them as one of their top three concerns.

However, this result signals a drop of almost four points since March when the last survey of concerns was held and a drastic climb-down from the 34.7% registered in October last year.

On the flipside, concern about environmental destruction increased by three points, and now stands at 10%.

If those worried about environmental degradation are added to those concerned about the impact of construction (6.5%), the combined result would put people’s preoccupation on these two, closely-linked issues, almost at par with traffic.

In second place came concerns about corruption with 12.3%, an increase of just under two points since March. The period coincides with the revelations made by the Daphne Project, some of which revived the allegations of money laundering and corruption by top people in the government.

The survey held in the last week of May asked people to mention the three things that concerned them most in Malta.

The results confirm the findings of the March survey that Maltese society is having to contend with new problems created by rapid economic expansion that is leading to a construction boom, more people coming to live here and additional pressure on natural resources.

The latest survey registered a two-point drop in concerns over illegal immigrants and foreigners living and working in Malta.

 The combined result of those who mentioned ‘illegal immigration’ as a concern, and those who identified ‘foreigners living and working in Malta’, reads 13.4%. Despite the decrease, the combined result still places the preoccupation with foreigners among the top three problems for today’s Malta.

However, another of these current problems, rising rent prices, fails to crop up as a significant concern despite the media coverage the matter has received.

Only 0.9% of people mentioned rent as a concern, which confirms that the matter is only a problem for a very small minority. The probability is that much more people stand to benefit from rising rents than those who stand to lose.

The cost of living has crept up as a concern to 3.8% from 2% in March but is still distant from the top concerns.

Concerns by political allegiance

Illegal immigrants and foreigners are a major concern for those who voted for the Labour Party in 2017 with a combined result of 16.8%.

Not so for those who voted for the Nationalist Party, where the combined result shows foreigners a concern for 7.5% of voters.

A marked difference between both sets of voters is visible on the issue of corruption. While corruption is a concern for only 3.9% of 2017 PL voters, it is a preoccupation for 31.3% of 2017 PN voters.

Traffic is the second highest concern for both sets of voters but slightly higher for those who cast their ballot for the PN. Among PL voters, traffic was a problem for 12.4% and PN voters, 18.9%.

When it comes to environmental degradation, it appears that 2017 PL voters are twice more likely than PN voters to consider it to be one of their top three concerns (PL’s 12.2% against PN’s 6.3%).

Rent is mentioned as a concern by 1.4% of PL voters and does not feature as a main concern among PN voters.

Methodology

This survey was carried out between Monday 28 May and Thursday 31 May 2018. Stratified random sampling defined by age, gender and region discriminants were used to replicate the fidelity of the population. 552 respondents chose to take part in the survey. The margin of error for a confidence interval of 95% is estimated at 4.2%.

Regions used in the survey

The regions are based on the classification determined by the National Statistics Office.

Southern Harbour: Valletta, Vittoriosa, Senglea, Cospicua, Zabbar, Fgura, Floriana, Kalkara, Luqa, Marsa, Paola, St Lucija, Tarxien, Xghajra.

Northern Harbour: Qormi, Birkirkara, Gzira, Hamrun, Msida, Pembroke, Pieta, St Julians, San Gwann, St Venera, Sliema, Swieqi, Ta’ Xbiex.

South Eastern: Zejtun, Birzebbuga, Gudja, Ghaxaq, Kirkop, Marsascala, Marsaxlokk, Mqabba, Qrendi, Safi, Zurrieq.

Western: Mdina, Zebbug, Siggiewi, Attard, Balzan, Dingli, Iklin, Lija, Rabat, Mtarfa.

Northern: Gharghur, Mellieha, Mgarr, Mosta, Naxxar, St Paul’s Bay.

Gozo: Gozo and Comino

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