With Joseph Muscat set to deliver his final speech as Prime Minister tomorrow evening, a survey has shown mixed public perceptions about his seven-year tenure in charge of the country.
The survey was conducted by BREIN over 16th and 21st December using a mix of telephone and online responses. Over 3,000 responses were received, out of which a sample of 1,027 responses was generated.
Respondents were asked how Malta fared in a number of sectors in a recent years on a range of -5 to 5, , with ‘-5’ meaning ‘we regressed’, 0 that ‘there was no change’, and ‘5’ that ‘there was a lot of improvement’.
According to the survey, the government’s greatest achievement has been in the field of minority rights, with a whopping 47.7% of respondents saying that there has been improvement and only 1.8% saying the opposite.
With regards the economy, 33% of respondents think that there has been a lot of improvement in recent years, whilst only a minuscule 3.4% said that the economy regressed. A similar opinion was expressed on the unemployment rate in Malta, with 33.5% stating that there was a lot of improvement and only 2.5% saying that this regressed.
Positive sentiment was not so pronounced where water and electricity bills were concerned, with 17.6% saying there has been a positive change. On the other hand, 21% stated that the situation has remained the same and a considerable 7.8% said we have regressed.
Roads infrastructure also featured positively in the survey with a total of 17.3% saying that there was a lot of improvement and only 7.2% saying that we have regressed.
Public health, education, government services and public transport all registered slight improvements too.
On the other end of the spectrum, the vast majority of Maltese, 57.4%, believe the government regressed with regards fighting corruption and defending the rule of law, with only 5% saying there was a lot of improvement.
Environmental protection also fared extremely poorly, with 43.8% of respondents stating the country has regressed and only 4.5% stating there was a lot of improvement.
A significant 42.5% of respondents also believed that the independence and autonomy of Maltese institutions took a knock in recent years, with only 6.3% stating that it improved.
Negative sentiment was also pronounced with regards meritocracy, where 40.8% said Malta regressed and only 5.3% said there was a lot of improvement, and access to housing and renting, where 26.9% said there was regression and 7.2% said there was a lot of improvement.
Security, the courts, national unity, and moral behaviour and decency all registered declines too.
A vast majority of people, 82%, said a change in Prime Minister will be good for the country, with Chris Fearne receiving a 48.9% support rating compared with just 19.5% for Robert Abela, and a considerable 31.6% stating they prefer neither candidate. A whopping 73.1% believe that the Labour Party should stay in government whilst only 18% want an early election.
The data collection was conducted by BREIN over a one week period (16th to 21st December). The questionnaire was administered through CAWI (web interviews) and CATI (telephone interviews), with over 3000 responses.
Seeking to collect responses from a sample that is optimally representative of the population of the Maltese Islands, a stratified sample was devised on the counts of individuals based on the latest national statistics published periodically by the National Statistics Office (NSO). The final sample of 1027 responses is estimated to represent the population in terms of gender, age and location distribution exceeding a 95% confidence interval and an accuracy level of 97%.
What do you make of the survey findings?