Yesterday the first poll (PDF) since the fall of government was released, and broadly speaking it shows that Bos’s gamble is paying off — for now. The Dutch voters agree with him on both the policy and the politics side, and the PvdA is gaining seats once more.
A few highlights:
The poll closes with the most interesting questions: how do right-wing voters feel about a purely right-wing government (CDA + VVD + Wilders’s PVV). and how do left-wing voters feel about a purely left-wing government (SP + GL + PvdA + D66)?
On the right, PVV and VVD voters generally support a right-wing government (14% and 23% negative, respectively), but among CDA voters the support is decidedly less (44% negative). It’s clear that a large minority of CDA voters just doesn’t like Wilders much, and it seems likely that the parties of the left will try to woo exactly these voters. “Vote CDA, and get Wilders for free.”
In an interview yesterday, Bos already wondered openly about the CDA’s position with regard to Wilders. Bos feels the CDA should be clear about its coalition preferences, but there’s no way that’s going to happen. If the CDA accepts Wilders openly it’ll lose some of its left wing, if it rejects Wilders openly it may run into serious problems when the elections deliver a right-wing majority. Silence is the best policy right now.
Of course the PvdA will use the CDA’s silence against it: slipperly, unreliable christians never dare to speak up, they’re just turncoating and blathering. This could become an effective attack angle, especially with Wilders in the background.
Still, in the same interview Bos refused to state his own coalition preferences, for much the same reasons as the CDA. Who knows, after the elections he might be forced to cooperate with the CDA again.
The CDA will undoubtedly try to use Bos’s silence against him, but right now the initiative clearly lies with Bos and in the current situation the CDA attack will fail. Still, things might change considerably before the elections.
Left-wing voters support a left-wing government, with the partial exception of D66 voters (27% negative). Although the percentage is less than on the right, keeping D66, which stands to win quite a few seats in the election, on board is going to be difficult, especially since D66 wants to profile itself as a moderate alternative to the PvdA.
Still, all in all this poll is very favourable to Bos and the PvdA, and decidedly less favourable to Balkenende and the CDA. It’s a nice start for the PvdA’s campaign.
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This is the political blog of Peter-Paul Koch, mobile platform strategist, consultant, and trainer, in Amsterdam. It’s a hobby blog where he follows Dutch politics for the benefit of those twelve foreigners that are interested in such matters, as well as his Dutch readers.