The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

iSurvey: confusion reigns as number of undecided voters continues to skyrocket

Helena Grech Sunday, 21 May 2017, 10:00 Last update: about 2 years ago

Just two weeks away from Malta’s snap election on 3 June, the ninth edition of the iSurvey shows that the proportion of voters who ‘don’t know’ who they will be voting for has shot up from 13.8 per cent to 21.2 per cent.

When comparing last week’s figures with this week’s, both major parties have lost out, although the Nationalist Party (PN) has lost by 4.5 percentage points compared with the Labour Party’s (PL) loss of 2.1 percentage points.

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Respondents were contacted for their replies between Monday 15 and Thursday 18 May. A sample size of 500 respondents was used, an increase of 100 compared with last week’s iSurvey, all in the interest maximising accuracy. With a sample size of 500, and after calculating the weighting efficiency, the margin of error was worked out as being 5.4 per cent.

Increasingly, it is the ‘don’t knows’ and the switchers that will be deciding the election. Looking at the increase in respondents who say they are unsure of who they will be voting  for could be attributed to a number of reasons, especially in view of the increasingly populist measures both parties are dangling in front of the electorate.

Tying in with this iSurvey’s trust ratings, where both leaders lost out and more respondents said they trust neither leader and there is growing annoyance at politicians due to the extremely serious allegations being made by one party, with the other flatly denying those claims, failing to answer journalists’ questions in full or failing to come up with satisfactory explanations.

 

What if the undecided and those who refused to answer how they will be voting retain their 2013 preference?

Whenever surveys are carried out it is imperative to try and make an informed assumption on which way the ‘don’t knows’ will swing. This week, The Malta Independent on Sunday built on an exercise carried out in last Sunday’s edition where the undecided were broken down into how those same respondents voted in the 2013 election. It was therefore assumed that the ‘don’t knows’ would retain their 2013 general election voting preference.

For this week’s edition of the iSurvey, those who are undecided and those who refused to answer the question were grouped together, and a cross reference was made on how those same respondents voted in 2013.

When considering that respondents had the option to say that they will not be voting when asked about their intentions for the upcoming election, it is only the ‘refused’ and ‘don’t knows’ that leave surveyors in the dark about which way they will swing.

Therefore, should those who are undecided and refused to answer the question retain their 2013 voting preference, the PL would still win the upcoming election by 6.2 per cent.

The figures, after making the proper adjustments, are as follows: PL 50.4 per cent of the vote, PN/PD 44.2 per cent, Alternattiva Demokratika 1.8 per cent, other small parties 0.4 per cent and 3.2 per cent say they will not vote.

It is interesting to note that those who claim to be switchers have swung in the favour of the PN, with 7.7 per cent of those who said they voted PL in 2013 saying they will be voting PN now. A proportion of 5.6 per cent who voted PN in 2013 will be voting PL. 

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