Whilst it has been made quite clear during the past days that Joseph Muscat has no intention of calling an election at the moment and the Labour party has a clear mandate to see through the end of the legislature, many people are still asking what would happen if an election were to be called soon, would Joseph Muscat still win? Traditionally in Malta random telephone surveys have been utilised to gauge the public’s feelings and sentiments. During the past elections they have been able to provide a clear idea of how an election result will play out.
So far, since the arrest of the alleged Daphne Caruana Galizia murder mastermind and the resignation of the Prime Minister’s chief of staff, Tourism minister and the Economy Minister’s self suspension, no surveys have yet been published. Protesters are also turning to the streets and demanding more resignations.
In the meantime the Labour party has called for a Meeting to be held next Sunday at Fgura, possibly as a show of force and to rally after Prime Minister Dr. Joseph Muscat, whilst the Nationalist party is mulling over the idea of whether to hold a national protest on the same day.
Other than surveys, political analysts have several other technological tools at their disposition, one of which is the lesser known Google Trends tool. This open source tool allows users to compare the relative search volume of searches between two or more terms. In the past, this has been utilized successfully as a forecast for major elections. It measures google searches and interest in a particular term or person.
As an example we can look at the last US Presidential elections where nearly all surveys were indicating that Hilary Clinton was going to win whilst Google Trends was consistently showing that Trump would win. Trump won and Google Trends was proved to be even better than the surveys.
Back to Malta, in this case we asked Google trends to provide us with a report on how the three main contenders i.e. Joseph Muscat, Adrian Delia and Simon Busuttil are doing at the moment.
The report generated for the past 7 days is below, the report takes into account only searches from Malta:
We can observe a peak in interest in Joseph Muscat during the past days, whilst at the same time it is clear that Muscat, at least according to Google Trends still holds more popularity with the Maltese electorate.
Whilst such indications do not necessarily translate into possible votes, they are very indicative of current popularity.
If an election were to be called today one should consider whether the Nationalist Party would be ready to compete directly with the Labour’s party election machinery which in the past elections, at least since Joseph Muscat was elected leader, proved to be a well-oiled machine, ready to take out any adversary.
One must also take into account that at the moment two factions exist within the Nationalist party, would they work together to take out Labour or would they continue to compete to try to take out each other?
The Google trends results clearly show that Simon Busuttil has as much popularity as Adrian Delia.
So many questions, so many complicated scenarios. Our take on all this? An educated guess?
Our conclusion to this analysis would be that if an election were to be called right now it would probably result in another win for Joseph Muscat, however he would lose lots of votes when compared to the last general election.