Two weeks ago, two Sunday newspapers carried two separate surveys. Malta Today published its usual monthly survey while It-Torca published one by Vincent Marmara. These two surveys had some significant differences. The one appearing in Malta Today painted a more positive picture for the PN than that drawn up by Vincent Marmara.
On analysing these two surveys, I could not fail but note that we are having a repetition of what we experienced prior to the 2017 elections. Back then, there were surveys by both Malta Today and Vincent Marmara. Malta Today was painting a very positive picture for the PN. Marmara was giving a different picture. His survey predicted a Labour victory of 36,000-vote difference. Marmara was proven right.
On the other hand, Malta Today’s survey led the PN to believe that it could win the election with a margin of 1000 vote difference. In fact, Simon Busuttil, the Opposition Leader at the time, accepted this survey and insisted with his candidates and supporters to engage in a last attempt to convince Labour voters to vote for the PN. Today, we all know that those calculations and analyses were erroneous. 4 points difference predicted by Malta Today was interpreted by Simon Busuttil to fall within the margin of error. A 4 points difference equalled a 12,000 votes difference. For this reason, Simon Busuttil believed that with the help of the PD, he could scrape through. This has been proven to be an erroneous analysis and calculation.
Here is what Malta Today reported stated back then in 2017 following one of its surveys. It stated that the PL is still leading by 4 points.
On his part, Vincent Marmara had explained his calculations by stating that there were voters who had switched sides but the figures were the same on both sides. 8000 switched from Labour to the PN, and another 8000 switched from the PN to Labour. Thus, this vote-switching had neutralized any advantage that the PN strategists were thinking that they were gaining in the running up to the 2017 election.
Eventually, when the results came out Malta Today had to admit that only Vincent Marmara got it right
The following table, published by Malta Today, confirms who had done his homework properly. Herewith is a comparison of how the surveys were being calculated in 2017.
Now, the same statistical error is being made. In other words, in terms of voters, those switching from Labour to the PN are the same as those who in the last five years have changed sides from the PN to Labour.
Unfortunately, Bernard Grech is using the same strategy today that was endorsed by Simon Busuttil in 2017. He believes he can win. This, in itself, is a positive attitude. Politicians should always have a positive approach. But then, reading statistics should be done properly.