Undecided voters swell, gap narrows to 26,000

The Labor Party leads in the polls with an eight point gap over the Nationalist Party, down one point over seven days, according to MaltaToday’s ongoing survey.

At the end of the third week of the electoral campaign, the PL recorded 53.2% support and the PN 44.8%. Third parties collectively have 2% support.

The extrapolated result puts the gap between the two main parties at 25,996 votes, compared to 27,265 last Sunday. The gap in the 2017 elections was 35,000.

The results are based on an expected share of valid votes that equals 86.6% of eligible voters. This represents an increase of nearly one point since last Sunday.

The expected share of valid votes is not turnout but rather the basis on which an election is determined – the valid votes cast.

In the 2017 election, the turnout was 92.1% and the share of valid votes cast was 90.9%.

MaltaToday’s ongoing survey continues to project a higher abstention rate than in the last general election.

The past seven days have seen the PN’s daily vote share plateau at 44.8%, while the PL’s share has seen more swings around the 53% mark.

All changes are well within the margin of error.

Age and region

The raw data shows that PL beats NP in all age groups, in both males and females, and in three out of six regions.

Among young voters aged 16 to 35, support for the PL is 29.8% and that of the PN at 25%. Among pensioners, the two parties obtain their best results with the PL enjoying 45% support and the PN 37.7%.

For the second consecutive Sunday, the geographical data paints a more balanced picture than the confidence barometer where PN leader Bernard Grech only beats PL leader Robert Abela in one region.

The PL wins in Gozo, in the South East and South Port regions, while the PN seizes the North, North Port and West regions.

Shifts and abstentions

The PL loses 3.7% of its 2017 support to the PN, while the opposition loses 2.9% of its 2017 electoral share to Labour. These moves translate into a net movement of 2,400 votes from the PL to the PN.

There are also 5.2% of PL voters who say they do not vote, or just under 9,000 votes, and 6% of nationalist voters, or just over 8,000 votes, who abstain.

The cohort of undecided voters is significant. In our projected result, undecided voters are assumed to vote according to their 2017 preference, but the PN appears to have more undecided voters in its ranks than Labor.

The poll shows that 20.4% of 2017 PN voters, or nearly 27,700 votes, are undecided. The equivalent share of undecided PL voters is 14.6%, or just under 25,000.

It remains to be seen whether undecided voters will conform to past voting preferences as we assume, change their vote or even stay home on Election Day.

Among new voters, the share of undecided climbed to 40.8% from 34.4% a week ago. Support for the PL among new voters is 23% against 19.7% for the PN.

New voters are excluded from the extrapolated result because they have no electoral history on which to base our assumption. However, it appears that the PL continues to gain the advantage over its rival within this cohort of voters which includes 16-year-olds.

Abela’s confidence lead increases to 14 points

Robert Abela ends the third week of the election campaign with a 43.9% trust rating in MaltaToday’s rolling survey, while Bernard Grech scores 29.8%.

The result represents a one point increase since last Sunday in the gap between the leaders, which now stands at 14 points.

The Labor leader is more trusted than the Nationalist leader in all age groups, among men and women, and in all but one region.

The survey has increased its sample size daily, ensuring that daily polls reflect the country’s demographics and past voting habits. Friday at 8 p.m., 1,811 people had been surveyed since Monday, February 21.

36 to 50 most suspicious

Abela’s best performance remains among middle-aged voters, where 49.9% trust him, followed by pensioners at 48.5%.

Grech’s best performance is among retirees where he scores 39.4%, followed by middle-aged voters at 30.3%.

Among young voters aged 16 to 35, the PL leader has a confidence rating of 38.8% compared to Grech’s 25.6%. However, 26.6% of people in this age group do not trust anyone.

The most suspicious group remains the cohort of 36-50 year olds, where 30.1% do not trust either of the two leaders. Within this group, Abela enjoys a trust rating of 39.4% against 23.7% for Grech.

Abela’s regional performance better than that of the party

On a geographic basis, Grech continues to beat Abela in the North region, but with an extremely slim lead. This region is made up of Għargħur, Mellieħa, Mġarr, Mosta, Naxxar and St Paul’s Bay.

Grech obtains 33.4%, while Abela registers 33.1%.

But elsewhere, the PN leader trails Abela with the largest margins recorded in the south and east of the country.

In the Northern Harbor region, Abela gets 38.9% against Grech’s 37.9%, while in the Western region, Prime Minister’s confidence stands at 36.1% against 35.1% for Greek.

In the South East region, the leader of the PL has a trust rating of 56.3%, while Grech continues to record his worst performance at 16.2%.

This region is made up of Żejtun, Birżebbuġa, Gudja, Għaxaq, Kirkop, Marsaskala, Marsaxlokk, Mqabba, Qrendi, Safi and Żurrieq, which correspond to the 3rd and 5th electoral districts which are Labor strongholds.

In the Southern Harbor region, Abela achieves its best performance at 57.7% against 23.% for Grech. This region is made up of Valletta, Vittoriosa, Isla, Bormla, Żabbar, Fgura, Floriana, Kalkara, Luqa, Marsa, Paola, St Luċija, Tarxien and Xgħajra. This region largely corresponds to the 2nd and 4th electoral districts, which are also Labor strongholds.

In Gozo, Abela enjoys the confidence of 44.4% against 29.4% for Grech.

Among those who say they vote for the PL in the March 26 elections, Abela enjoys the confidence of 97.7%, while Grech enjoys the confidence of 90.3% of those who will vote for the PN.

But 7.1% of potential PN voters say they trust no one compared to 1.1% of potential Labor voters.

Methodology

The survey is the aggregate dataset conducted between Monday, February 21, 2022 and Friday, March 11, 2022. 1,811 respondents chose to complete the survey. Stratified random sampling based on region, age and gender was used to replicate Maltese demographics. The estimated margin of error is 2.3% for a 95% confidence interval for the overall results. Demographic and subgroup breakdowns have significantly larger margins of error.