MaltaToday | 03 March 2008 | PN ahead in polls but MLP gains 8% of PN voters

NEWS | Sunday, 02 March 2008

PN ahead in polls but MLP gains 8% of PN voters

James Debono

The penultimate MaltaToday electoral survey shows the PN at 39%-five clear points ahead of the MLP and well beyond the survey’s +/-3.3% margin of error.

Still the same survey shows the PN losing 7.6% of it’s former voters when present voting intentions of respondents are compared to how they claim voting in the 2003 general elections.
This is a clear indication that despite the growing gap between the two parties the election remains too close to call.
Compared to last week’s survey, a drop of 4.6% of non committed voters has resulted in a net gain of 4% for the PN. This is the second consecutive gain for the PN which was trailing the MLP until last week.
Support for the other three parties remained stable with the MLP gaining 0.4% AN gaining 0.3% and AD losing 0.2%.
The survey was carried out between Monday and Wednesday just before the MLP took back the initiative from the PN by publishing a 2004 Ministry of Health report suggesting fees on health services and before AD published a damning Audit Office report on Charles Polidano’s ODZ supermarket in Safi.
Significantly for the first time Labour is losing more votes to AD than the PN. While the PN loses only 1.2% to AD, the MLP is losing 1.7% of it’s 2003 vote share.
While the survey shows that the PN’s slick and focused campaign has swayed more voters to declare their intention to vote PN, it still shows that the Nationalist party losing more votes from it’s 2003 tally than the MLP.
The PN’s haemorrhage from it’s 2003 tally has been a persistent trend in all MaltaToday’s surveys carried out in the past year.
While the number of former PN voters intent on not voting has declined from 5% in January to a bare minimum of 1.8% now, the PN still loses 9.8% to Labour. This is partially compensated by 3.5% of Labour voters in 2003 election how would now would vote PN.
After these gains from Labour are taken in to account the PN ends up losing 7.6% of it’s 2003 voters.
The survey gives a clear indication that the PN has managed to regroup its troops and to make small gains from the MLP. But it has not recovered former PN voters who have deserted to Labour in the past years. The number of these voters has been constant at around 9% over the past weeks.
One positive indication for the PN is that the number of former Labourites now intent on voting PN is on the increase.
Just two weeks ago the number of former Labour voters intent on voting for the PN numbered only 1.4%. On the other hand the number of former PN voters intent on voting for the MLP has remained stable all through the campaign.
The PN also leads the MLP among those who would be voting for the first time on March 8th. Among this category the PN gets 41% against the MLP’s 30%. This could be an indication of the PN’s intelligent use of the internet and the media to target these voters.
Gains among new voters which number 17000 in all, could partially compensate for the shift to Labour.
This paradoxical result which shows the PN 5 points ahead despite this haemorrhage of votes from it’s 2003 tally results from an over representation of former PN voters in the randomly chosen sample.
While 49% claim to have voted for the PN in 2003 only 32% claim to have voted for the MLP. This discrepancy could be attributed to a reluctance of Labour voters either to declare their vote in 2003 or to participate in surveys in general.

This survey was held between Monday 25 February and Wednesday 28 February. A total of 1,735 persons were contacted, 900 of whom accepted to participate in the survey. Respondents were randomly chosen from the telephone directory. The survey results (except for the shifts between 2003 election) were weighed according to age/sex distribution of the population. The survey’s margin of error is +/-3.26%.

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