On foreigners, PN voters are edgier, MT survey finds

It remains unclear whether the relatively higher acceptance PL voters have of foreigners, is grounded in some progressive belief or is simply a reflection of people toeing the leader’s line

A MaltaToday survey has shown that Nationalist Party voters appear to be more fearful and concerned of asylum seekers and foreigners than those who support Labour
A MaltaToday survey has shown that Nationalist Party voters appear to be more fearful and concerned of asylum seekers and foreigners than those who support Labour

Nationalist Party voters appear to be more fearful and concerned over asylum seekers and foreigners than Labour Party supporters, according to the findings of MaltaToday's survey.

Almost half (48.2%) of PN voters in 2017 indicated the fear of ‘invasion’ as their main concern with asylum seekers. The corresponding figure for PL voters stood at 39.6%.

But the difference between both sets of supporters also emerged when asked about their topmost concern on regular foreigners who live and work in Malta.

While 46.6% of PL voters had no significant concern, the corresponding number for PN voters dropped to 34.4%.

The fear of ‘invasion’ from regular foreigners was the third highest concern for both PL and PN voters. However, while 9.6% of Labour voters said their concern was that regular foreigners were ‘invading us’, the equivalent figure was higher for PN voters at 15.8%.

It remains unclear whether this heightened edginess among PN voters represents an intrinsic fear of foreigners from those with a more conservative outlook, or is a reflection of the recent emphasis of party leader, Adrian Delia, on concerns linked to foreigners.

It remains unclear whether the relatively higher acceptance PL voters have of foreigners, is grounded in some progressive belief or is simply a reflection of people toeing the leader’s line

Delia has repeatedly questioned the judiciousness of having so many foreigners working in Malta and picked up on concerns over criminality in localities like Marsa. His words have, at times, bordered on the xenophobic.

His position contrasts with that of Prime Minister, Joseph Muscat, who has welcomed a more cosmopolitan Malta at a time when foreign labour is required to prop up record economic expansion.

It remains unclear whether the relatively higher acceptance PL voters have of foreigners is grounded in some progressive belief or is simply a reflection of people toeing the leader’s line.

And while both sets of supporters overwhelmingly agree that there is no fear of foreigners in the locality where they live, a slight difference does emerge. While 75.5% of PL voters believe there is no fear of foreigners in their hometown, the number drops to 69.7% among PN voters.

The survey also showed that PN voters appeared to have more regular conversations with EU and non-EU foreigners outside the place of work than their PL counterparts.

While 38.7% of PN voters had regular conversations with EU nationals outside the workplace, only 24% of PL voters reported such encounters. The disparity was similar when people were asked about encounters with non-EU nationals. Of those who voted PN, 33.4% admitted having regular conversations with people from outside the EU, with the equivalent figure for PL voters standing at 20.6%.

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