The Malta Independent 13 June 2024, Thursday
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Pollster says high rate of undecided voters distorted surveys ahead of elections

Semira Abbas Shalan Monday, 10 June 2024, 13:01 Last update: about 3 days ago

Pollster Vincent Marmara said that the high rate of undecided voters seems to have subverted all polls which were published ahead of the European Parliament elections, which had suggested that the Labour Party was on track to win by a much bigger majority than it did.

Sunday's elected MEPs are Roberta Metsola, Alex Agius Saliba, Peter Agius, David Casa, Daniel Attard and Thomas Bajada, resulting in the PN reclaiming the third seat, with a vote gap of just 8,454 votes between the two major parties.

The surveys which were conducted and published in the week before the elections by MaltaToday, it-Torca and the Sunday Times had all, indeed, predicted a wider gap between the two parties, down from the 42,500 gap in 2019, but between 20,000 and 30,000 votes.

MaltaToday's survey suggested a gap of 24,000, with the Times of Malta predicting a 10.4 percentage-point lead, translating into a difference of around 30,500 votes. It-Torca projected a vote difference of 27,500.

However, the Labour party ended up with a vote gap of under 10,000, leaving the PN and PL with three seats each. EU Parliament President Roberta Metsola won the highest number of votes ever in the MEP elections locally.

Marmara in a Facebook post explained that he had used the same "reliable, scientific" models as he has in the past, but the rate of undecided voters marked at 18% in the run-up to the elections.

He said that seemingly, undecided voters who at the 2022 general election had voted PN, had again voted PN on Saturday, whereas many of the undecided who in 2022 voted Labour had this time either stayed away, or voted for independent parties. In fact, 100,000 people did not vote for this year's EP elections.

Marmara also made reference to 'certain events' which happened nearing the end of the electoral campaign, saying that it happened too quickly to be factored into the last polls. He was referring to the arraignment of former Prime Minister Joseph Muscat in the week before the elections.

The polls did accurately predict three EP seats for the two main parties, Marmara said, pointing out that there were major instances abroad when opinion polls were off, as in Brexit's case.

This election was Labour's narrowest EP victory ever. On Sunday, the gap was first projected to be around 15,000, which then dropped throughout the day to 10,000 votes, ultimately landing on a 8,454 vote discrepancy.

In total, Labour obtained 117,805 votes (45.26%) while the Nationalist Party received 109,351 votes. (42.02%)

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