News | Sunday, 04 October 2009

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MaltaToday’s latest survey reveals the lowest support ever for Gonzi as his trust rating falls eight points to 23% in just a year.
Now, his backbenchers speak out on the troubles haunting his party.

Lawrence Gonzi has seen his trust rating dip by eight percentage points since last year, down to 23%. Just a year ago, 38% judged his performance as Prime Minister positively – now only 19% do the same, and nearly a fifth of respondents who voted PN in 2008 judge his performance negatively.
But despite his fall from the electorate’s grace, Lawrence Gonzi still fares better than his own party. In the first poll on voting intentions since last June’s MEP elections, only 15% of respondents say that they would vote for the PN if an election were held tomorrow.
The PN’s record low is partially explained by the fact that 36% of PN voters in the 2008 election are either undecided or intent on not voting.
But the survey also indicates a significant shift of allegiance among respondents who voted for the Nationalist Party in the 2008 general election. With third parties practically wiped out in this survey, some disgruntled PN voters seem to be directly moving in the Labour fold: 15% now openly claim they would vote Labour, mirroring the same percentage as those who trust Joseph Muscat more than Gonzi.
This confirms that the PN is not just suffering from sheer disgruntlement – as reflected in high levels of former Nationalist voters who would not vote – but is now losing support to the Labour Party.

Muscat edges ahead
For the third consecutive time in MaltaToday’s surveys, Labour leader Joseph Muscat enjoys a better trust rating than Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi.
But in what could be an indication that his honeymoon with the electorate is over, Muscat has seen his rating dip by seven percentage points since last year’s survey: conducted a 100 days after his election as Labour leader.
Nonetheless, Muscat has slightly improved his rating since last January, and has clearly managed to overturn one of his party’s major disadvantages when Alfred Sant was leader (Gonzi used to enjoy a better trust rating than Sant in all MaltaToday surveys held since September 2005).

Significantly, only 7% of respondents assess Muscat’s performance as Opposition leader negatively, in what might well be an indication that the new Labour leader does not evoke the strong negative feelings associated with his predecessor.
And despite being subjected to greater scrutiny and attacks from the PN, a sizeable 23% of PN voters in 2008 judge Muscat’s performance positively, with only 17% expressing a negative judgement.
But Muscat still faces some scepticism among Labour’s electorate. In fact, 8% of Labour voters in 2008 trust neither Gonzi nor Muscat, and 9% judge his performance as opposition leader as ‘fair’.
Significantly, when asked who they had voted in the past election, the number of respondents voting for PN and PL was equal. This reflects the actual result of the election.


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