In Late 2022, the small archipelago EU-member nation located in the heart of the Mediterranean held a parliamentary discussion for a bill to ease current abortion laws. As hearing the opinions and attitudes of the local population on the matter was deeply undercovered for EU standards, Lifepanel decided to launch a brief flash survey on the matter within its initial panel recruitment survey.
Lifepanel started its recruitment in Malta back in January 2023, in order to test its probability-based Random Digit Dialling (RDD) telephone recruitment modes. For mobile RDD: survey recruitment messages were delivered using SMS, and Whatsapp. And for the Landline portion of the Dual Frame Random Digit Dialling (DFRDD), a live-caller CATI interview was conducted.
The main benefit of using Lifepanel in Malta is the cost-effective and methodologically scientific way of conducting National Representative studies.
With relative feasibility for enabling survey research efforts in an otherwise often overlooked EU member state and serve as a positive indicator for utilisation of probability panels in the rest of the EU members that are not in the core EU19 trench.
On the other hand, one downside of the sampling approach is currently the under-representation of the older age group (50 to 64-year-olds and 65 and older) which would need to be sampled in an additional recruitment wave of landline RDD sample and CATI interviewing. By doing so the Design Effect can be reduced for actual surveys. We are looking forward to this modern approach of collecting the population’s opinions and monitoring the attitudes in longitudinal trend studies on key topics surrounding the country.
In the initial recruitment stage, Lifepanel engaged with the selected respondents on a 3 question flash survey to measure their opinions of the recent abortion bill in the National Assembly – which was the headline topic in December 2022: The results of the flash survey are as followed:
A small majority – 52.4% of residents in Malta disagree that all women should have the right to access abortion.
41.8% of residents strongly disagree all women should have the right to access abortion
–41.8% strongly disagree
–10.6% tend to disagree
–8.4% neither disagree nor agree
–13.7% tend to agree
–23.7% strongly agree
It should be noted that this impact concerns all age groups, all social categories, and all populations from all education levels and occupations; the differences observed are minor.
Furthermore, when asked, 72.1% of respondents expressed negative attitudes toward abortion.
43.1% of respondents believe abortion is morally wrong and should be illegal
29% of respondents are personally against abortion for themselves and family, however, they don’t believe the government should prevent a woman from making that decision for herself.
23.6% believe having an abortion is morally acceptable and should be legal
While 3.5% have expressed other concerns for the legality of abortion depending on whether the mother’s or baby’s life is at risk, termination of pregnancy within the first trimester of pregnancy or termination of pregnancy in situations of unlawful sexual intercourse (rape)
–70.1% consider themself religious
–29.9% consider themself non-religious
Furthermore, when cross-tabulated: Of the non-religious respondents: overall 63.7% agree that all women should have the right to an abortion, and 46.4% believe having an abortion is morally acceptable and legal.
On the other hand, of the religious respondents: 62.6% disagree that all women should have the right to an abortion, 52.5% believe having an abortion is morally wrong and should be illegal at the same time 29.3% are personally against abortion for themself and their family but don’t believe government should prevent a woman from making that decision for herself.
According to a survey carried out by Lifepanel on a representative sample of 2,033 eligible respondents selected using a Dual RDD frame for a mixed mode push-to-web and CATI survey mode, between the 12th of January and 3rd March 2023.
All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for over 2000 respondents is +/- ±2.1 percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence interval.
For a better overview of the Panel composition and demographics covered for Malta, please visit the country panel page for Malta: https://lifepanel.eu/malta/
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Lifepanel provides the next generation of probability based-data collection allowing researchers and policymakers to base their decision on reliable and scientifically reliable data.
The current coverage of Lifepanel consists of Germany, Malta, and North Macedonia. For inquiries to run your own survey for one of the countries, please reach out via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lifepanel is further expanding its reach with the addition of new countries where we partner up with local fieldwork agencies. If you are a fieldwork agency and interested in getting to know how Lifepanel can further help you in growing a probability-based panel, please take a glance at our article: https://lifepanel.eu/lifepanel-for-cati-fieldwork-agencies/