The Malta Independent 17 July 2024, Wednesday
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TMID Editorial: Disinterest in politics

Saturday, 22 June 2024, 10:59 Last update: about 25 days ago

People are paying less and less attention to politics, which is worrying and is, without a doubt, a failure by the political class.

In 2021, 48.3% said that Maltese politics is very important for them. This year, that percentage reduced to 33.7%. The percentage that responded ‘not at all’ rose from 12.9% to 31.3%.

To make matters worse, the data was collected during an election campaign, at the height of political debate in a country.

It is no surprise that those aged 56+ are more likely to say that they give a lot of importance to politics. But the middle and young generations do not. In fact, over 52% of 16-25 year olds responded that politics doesn’t interest them at all. For the 26-35 and 36-45 age groups, just over 40% said that politics doesn’t interest them, with 28.6% and 38.1% respectively responding ‘somewhat’, and the rest saying it very much interests them.

The political class is failing to reach younger people, and this regardless of changing the laws to allow 16-year-olds to vote, or become mayors.

The last election saw many people opt not to vote, but politics is important for people’s lives. The survey shows that politicians are losing their ability to get people interested, which in the end is not good for society as a whole.

There could be many reasons for this disinterest in politics. One reason, which would fall squarely on the government’s shoulders right now, could be that people are fed up of hearing about one scandal after another, to the point that they don’t trust politicians. The government needs to clean itself up. An interesting statistic is that justice was ranked as being the most important for people out of four options – justice, solidarity, equality and liberty.

Another reason could be that people are getting fed up of the choice being between the two same old parties. Perhaps yet another reason could be that the sheer amount of politics being bombarded by the two major parties over the past few years has resulted in fatigue and people becoming bored of hearing politicians. It seems that political parties are not managing to reach everyone like they used to.

The time of being able to rely on die-hard supporters is coming to a close, and parties really need to work for their votes.

The survey also found that more and more people said that, when it comes to their opinion on different issues, they don’t consider their political party’s opinions (42.8% when compared to 29.4% in 2021). At the same time, while over 79% said that they identify with a party because it conforms with their ideas, and not the other way around, slightly up from last year bus still lower than 2021.

The results also show that the percentage of people who said that they would consider voting for a different party in the future has been rising drastically since 2021, reaching 42% in this year’s survey. It is not a small amount and is almost equal to those who said they would not.

Having voters decide on conscience, rather than some form of all-out allegiance to a political party, is the way things should be done and is the best way to ensure that political parties work to come out with the best possible ideas to improve the country.

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