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PN gains, but Labour still enjoys strong lead

The Labour Party is leading the polls by six points, a survey commissioned by The Sunday Times shows, but still enjoys a net swing of 11.7 per cent from the 2008 election.

PN favourite for economic policies, PL for energy

The lead goes up to 10 points if the undecided (22 per cent) are removed from the result. This would mean that based on declared voter intention, Labour commands 54 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Nationalists at 44 per cent, while Alternattiva Demokratika garners one per cent.

The strong swing in Labour’s favour puts Joseph Muscat’s party in a comfortable lead at the start of the electoral campaign. The swing is much stronger than the four per cent Labour had registered at the start of the 2008 election campaign.

The survey, with a sample of 500 respondents, was conducted by Misco International and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 per cent. It was carried out before the PL unveiled its energy plans.

Asked whether they were satisfied with Lawrence Gonzi’s leadership, 45 per cent said yes and a similar number said they were not.

Dr Muscat’s leadership was judged positively by 42 per cent of respondents, while 30 per cent gave him thumbs down. Almost a third of respondents currently have no opinion on Dr Muscat’s leadership.

The PN emerges as the party with the best economic policies, enjoying the support of 39 per cent. But with 42 per cent, the PL is regarded as the party that can best address the energy prices issue.

The survey also found that respondents overwhelmingly believe that the election of PN deputy leader Simon Busuttil and Labour deputy leader Louis Grech will give their respective parties a better chance of winning the election.

While 55 per cent of respondents said Dr Busuttil will boost the PN’s electoral chances, 58 per cent said the same about his Labour counterpart.

Mr Grech replaced Anġlu Farrugia, who was asked to resign last month by the Labour leader after criticising a magistrate.

When asked whether Dr Muscat was right in calling for Dr Farrugia’s resignation, 40 per cent of respondents said yes while 28 per cent said no.

Cost of living and energy bills emerged as the two topmost issues that will dictate how people vote in the next election. These issues were followed by the economy, jobs and the need for a change in government.

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