ONE TV chairman Jason Micallef and Inclusion Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli have played down concerns that problems are befalling the Labour Party after a survey showed its support has shrunk.
MaltaToday’s survey today indicated that public support for the PL has dropped to 39.2%, down by two points since last month’s survey and its lowest score since the last general election.
Public trust in Robert Abela has dropped by around two points to 39.8%, his lowest trust rating since becoming Prime Minister last year.
However, it wasn’t accompanied by trust gains for the Nationalist Party – public support for the PN stands at 32.6% (down 0.4 points since last month’s MaltaToday survey) while Opposition leader Bernard Grech’s trust rating stands at 34.8% (down by 0.3 points since last month).
The results would mean that if an election is held tomorrow, the PL would triumph by around 23,000 votes, a large margin but a decline from the 35,000 gap it obtained at the 2013 and 2017 elections.
Interviewed on ONE TV’s Paperscan this morning, Jason Micallef said he’d take a 23,000-vote victory any time.
“The Labour Party has raised the standards enormously in the past ten years, but the largest majority a PN government used to obtain was around 13,000 votes, and it was described as a big majority.”
“If an election is held tomorrow and the PL wins by around 25,000 votes, with around five-seven parliamentary seats more than the Opposition, I’d take it any time.”
He noted that the survey took place in the midst of a pandemic, which has harmed the popularity of several governments worldwide.
“There’s uncertainty, people’s relatives have died, businesses are suffering, plus the Labour Party changed its leader and Cabinet, and revolutionised the institutions…. I’m not saying the PL shouldn’t analyse this survey but must be realistic.”
Similarly, Julia Farrugia Portelli said she was pleased when she saw today’s survey results.
“The survey shows the Opposition leader hasn’t made any progress but actually lost 0.3% of his support. If the Prime Minister loses points, I’d expect the Opposition leader to climb a step upwards. He has the luxury of being in Opposition, he has the chance to analyse things and come up with new and fresh ideas but he hasn’t done so.”
Farrugia Portelli also cast doubt on a front-page story by Illum, MaltaToday’s’s sister paper which she herself used to be the editor of, that quoted anonymous PL officials as warning the survey should serve as a wake-up call to Abela.
“There are people out there who think that the Prime Minister isn’t taking the tough decisions he needs to take and that he’s being insensitive towards people’s suffering,” one of the officials quoted by Illum said. “It’s not the case, but that’s the perception, and people expect his decisions to be more timely and clear.”
However, Farrugia Portelli questioned how the officials knew what the survey said before it had been published.
“At least publish this story a week later, a story like this gives their credibility a knock. I have my doubts about this story.”