While 42.1 per cent believe that the Prime Minister is implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, half of respondents in the latest edition of The Malta Independent’s iSurvey still believe that he should not resign.
Respondents were asked two distinct questions: Do you believe the Prime Minister is implicated in the Panama Papers? Should the Prime Minister resign over the allegations of his wife’s secret company in Panama?
Asked whether the Prime Minister is implicated, 42.1 per cent believe he is, 39.9 per cent do not and a significant 18 per cent are undecided.
As to whether the Prime Minister should resign over the allegations of his wife’s secret company in Panama, 42.3 per cent believe he should, 50.2 per cent do not, and 7.5 per cent are undecided.
The scientific survey is based on 600 participants interviewed via telephone. Respondents were interviewed for this iSurvey between 25 April and 3 May.
Egrant Inc. is the third Panamanian company that was acquired by Nexia BT, whose managing director is Brian Tonna. He facilitated the acquisition of three Panama-based companies, Hearnville Inc., Tillgate Inc. and Egrant Inc., through the services of Mossack Fonseca. The first two belonged to Minister Konrad Mizzi (above, left) and the Prime Minister’s chief of staff Keith Schembri (above, right). Panama is a financially secretive jurisdiction, with the Panama Papers scandal exposing how the world’s elite conceal their wealth.
Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia revealed a whistleblower’s first-person account in which she said that one of the daughters of the Azerbaijani leader, Leyla Alijeva transferred large sums of money to all three companies through an offshore company, and that she transferred US$1.017 million to Egrant Inc. The facilitation of this transaction took place through Pilatus Bank, in Ta Xbiex.
The whistle-blower, a Russian woman who worked at the bank, revealed that Egrant’s UBO is Michelle Muscat, the Prime Minister’s wife. The Prime Minister has categorically denied the claims, saying that he holds Opposition leader Simon Busuttil accountable for this “attack” on his family. Later, he even ordered a magisterial inquiry into the allegations.
The allegations culminated into Dr Muscat calling a snap election on 1 May, with the allegations having reached new heights on 20 April.
Based on this opinion poll, the jury is still out in the eyes of the public on whether the Prime Minister is implicated in the scandal or not. It must be said that a whopping 18 per cent of those who are undecided could make or break the PL’s chances of winning the upcoming election.
While the governing party enjoys both higher trust and approval ratings, developments and allegations continue to unfold. The 42.1 per cent who believe that Prime Minister Joseph Muscat is implicated in the scandal is the first statistic that does not go his way, while his party continues to enjoy the public’s favour. Many pundits argue that the stomping ground for the upcoming election will not be fought based on policy suggestions and electoral pledges, but on whether the public believes the Prime Minister he is innocent of the whole affair or not.
PN/PL voter split
When breaking down respondents’ answers based on how they voted in the 2013 general election, Nationalist voters are more convinced of the Prime Minister’s guilt than Labour voters are convinced of his innocence.
Out of those who voted Labour in the 2013 general election, 11.3 per cent believe that the Prime Minister is implicated in the Panama Papers scandal, 68.5 per cent disagree, while a total of 20.2 per cent are undecided.
Out of those who voted Nationalist, 79.5 per cent believe Dr Muscat is implicated, five per cent believe that he is not, while 15.4 per cent chose ‘don’t know’.
When breaking down the same data based on whether respondents believe the Prime Minister should resign or not, PL voters are more convinced that he shouldn’t than PN voters who are convinced that he should resign.
A proportion of 12.7 per cent of 2013 PL voters believe the Prime Minister should resign over the allegations being made, 81.2 per cent believe he should not while 6.1 per cent are undecided. Out of those who voted PN, 78.4 per cent believe he should resign, 12 per cent disagree while 9.7 per cent are undecided.
Turning to what voters said based on how they would vote should an election be held today, both PN and PL voters are in no doubt on whether the Prime Minister should resign or not than they are sure of whether he is implicated in the Panama Papers scandal.
3.1 per cent of those who would vote for the PL believe that the Prime Minister should resign over the allegations, 91.4 per cent disagree, while just 5.5 per cent ‘don’t know’. On the other side of the divide, 92.3 per cent of those who would vote for the PN believe the Dr Muscat should resign, 4.8 per cent disagree and just 2.9 per cent were undecided.
Looking at the same voter data and cross-referencing with the question of whether Dr Muscat is implicated in the whole debacle, 2.4 per cent of those who would vote PL agree that he is, 84.2 per cent don’t, and a significant 13.4 per cent could not decide.
80.5 per cent of those who would vote PN think the Prime Minister is somehow implicated in the Egrant scandal, just 2.4 per cent disagree while 7.6 per cent could not decide.
Lastly, it can also be said that when looking at the various age cohorts, Malta’s youngsters remain the most convinced of the Prime Minister’s involvement, with 67 per cent believing he is implicated. This is also the age group with the highest proportion, 55.8 per cent, who believe that Dr Muscat should resign.