Labour would win an election by just under 18,000 votes if an election were to take place tomorrow, the slimmest lead the party has experienced in years, according to a new Times of Malta survey.

The survey reveals that PL has continued to shed voters, registering a decrease of 1.3% over the past four months and almost 5% since last year’s general election.

Meanwhile, PN has failed to gain any significant ground, only recording minimal gains since the last Times of Malta survey in March and increasing its share of the vote by less than 2% since the election.

In total, the gap between the two parties has shrunk by some 5,000 votes over the past four months.

This is Labour’s poorest performance since the first wave of the Times of Malta survey in July 2021. It also marks PN’s best performance in the survey, despite still lagging far behind Labour.

Small parties also registered gains, almost doubling their share of the vote to 6.2% since the election.

The share of people who said they do not intend to vote remained stable since the last survey at 27.6%. However, researchers say that this is likely to reduce drastically come election time.

Trust in Abela dips but still higher than Grech

The haemorrhage of votes from Labour’s ranks appears to be driven by a dip in trust in its leader, with Robert Abela’s trust rating receiving a heavy blow over the past months.

Abela’s trust rating among all voters now ranks at 4.3, down from the rating of 5 registered in March and a drop of two points since the first edition of this survey in July 2021.

Nonetheless, trust in Abela remains higher than PN leader Bernard Grech's, whose trust rating of 3.7 remains virtually unchanged since four months ago.

PL voter dissatisfaction doubles

Over one in five Labour voters now rates the government’s performance poorly. This has doubled over the past four months, shooting up to almost 21% today from almost 10% in March.

Those who rate the government positively have also increased, albeit marginally. Meanwhile, the share of PL voters who earlier in the year described the government’s performance as average has plummeted, suggesting that many people who were on the fence four months ago are unimpressed by the government’s actions of late.

In total, under half of PL voters rate the government’s performance positively, a stark drop from surveys in previous years, where this figure tended to hover around 80%.

The government also fared poorly among non-voters, with just over 4% saying that the government’s performance was good. Almost half described it as average, while the remaining 47% say that the government has performed poorly.

Younger voters unimpressed

The perception of the government's performance is also marked by a clear generational gap. Only 8% of youths under the age of 24 approve of the government’s performance, compared to 38% of people over 65.

Likewise, under a quarter of all people under the age of 55 believe the government is performing well.

In general, voters in Gozo tend to view the government’s performance more positively than those in Malta, although there are also marked regional differences within Malta.

Voters in traditionally PN-leaning regions such as the northern harbour and northern regions tend to hold more negative views of the government’s performance, while those in PL-leaning areas such as the southern harbour and southeastern regions are slightly more optimistic.

Nevertheless, even in the latter two regions, people who rate the government’s performance as poor outnumber those who gave a positive assessment.

The survey, carried out by market research firm Esprimi, collected responses between July 14th and 19, right in the midst of the public uproar over the government’s U-turn over the public inquiry into the death of Jean Paul Sofia.

Data scientists Lobeslab, Esprimi’s sister company, applied machine learning, a type of artificial intelligence together with weighting measures to predict voting intentions with near statistical certainty. Esprimi’s pre-election polls last year predicted the electoral result almost perfectly.

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