Polls, polls, polls — coalitions and prime ministers

Peil.nl had published a new poll in which respondents were asked for their wishes and expectations regarding coalitions and prime ministers. There are a few nuggets in here.

The first three questions were about coalitions: which parties would you like to see in government, must sit in government, and must not sit in government. Unsurprisingly, an overwhelming majority of all voters feels that the party he or she is voting for must sit in government. The score is a full 100% only with CDA and VVD, the rest of the parties fluctuate between 98 and 89%.

More interesting are the voters who don’t yet know what they’re going to vote. They’re a pretty mixed bag (some will be left-wingers who don’t yet know which left-wing party to vote for, some right-wingers with the same problem on the right wing), but there are clearly three groups of parties:

  1. Between 31 and 34% of undecided voters want the Purple parties PvdA, VVD, and D66 in government.
  2. Between 23 and 28% want extreme parties SP, GL, and PVV in government.
  3. Only 14% of undecided voters want the CDA in government. This is very low.

More in general, the CDA is not very popular with other parties. Only 39% of VVD voters and 25% of PVV voters feel the CDA must sit in government, and overall the party finishes fourth with 34% of all voters rooting for CDA government participation.

When we combine these findings we clearly see that Dutch voters feel it’s time for a CDA-less Purple coalition again.

As to which parties must not sit in government, Wilders’s PVV scores very high there with 63% overall. Voters for all other parties feel in majority that the PVV should not sit in government, with only the VVD as an exception. Of VVD voters, only 39% wants to exclude the PVV. Of CDA voters, no less than 77% wants to exclude Wilders.

Even though the right-wing CDA+VVD+PVV coalition is currently the largest one in the polls, it’s becoming unlikelier and unlikelier that this will actually happen. CDA voters just don’t want it.

In fact, former CDA parliamentary leader Aantjes (1977-1978; ARP party leader 1973-1977) officially announced that he will vote CU, unless the CDA explicitly excludes the PVV. But then, Aantjes has always been a left-winger, and although his sentiments do him credit, an official exclusion would only help Wilders.
(Source: Trouw)

The second least-liked party is the SP; 32% of all voters feels it should be excluded from government. As is to be expected, CDA and VVD voters like it least (about 60% anti-SP). Interestingly, PVV voters (41%) like the SP a lot better than their right-wing brethren.

Here, too, the undecided voters are very interesting. 61% of them wants to exclude the PVV, pretty much in line with the rest of the nation, but the second least-liked party here is the CDA with 52%. Again, the undecideds have only decided they do not want the CDA in government.

Then a point-blank question on coalitions. Supposing only the following coalitions have a majority, which would you prefer?

  1. CDA+VVD+PVV (right): 25%
  2. PvdA+VVD+D66+GL (Purple-green): 20%
  3. PvdA+D66+SP+GL+CU (left-christian): 19%
  4. CDA+VVD+D66+CU (centre-right-christian): 15%
  5. PvdA+CDA+VVD (forbidden coalition): 9%
  6. PvdA+CDA+D66+GL (centre-left-green): 6%
  7. CDA+VVD+D66+GL (centre-right-green): 5%

These figures are remarkable, and not for the fact that the right-wing coalition wins. That’s due to the overwhelming (94%) support of PVV voters, and the plurality support of VVD voters (44%). As we should expect by now, CDA voters don’t like it too much (14%).

What surprises me most is the lukewarm response to centre-left-green, which I continue to see as the most likely coalition. 15% of PvdA voters and 16% of GL voters support it, but that’s about it.

CDA voters like the centre-right-christian option best (43%), followed by the forbidden coalition (24%), but PvdA and VVD voters don’t like that last option for beans (7 and 9%). In other words, CDA voters hope that the other two large parties will save their bacon. Fat chance.

Then Purple-green. It’s supported by a majority of D66 voters (62%; no surprise here), and a plurality of PvdA voters (42%). Even more interesting, it is the highest-scoring coalition among undecided voters (37%; with right and left 20% each). It’s not so popular among VVD voters (11%).

Largest party: which party do you think and hope becomes the largest? In both cases the PvdA wins (48% and 36%, respectively). As to the undecideds, 17% thinks, but only 9% hopes the CDA becomes the largest. Again, the undecideds are not particularly pro-CDA.

Who do you think/hope becomes prime minister? Cohen easily wins (51% and 38%, respectively). Balkenende is stuck at 17% and 18%, respectively, Wilders at 4% and 9%.

The conclusion must be that the undecideds are generally not CDA voters. In other words, the current CDA level (about 30 seats) will not increase markedly due to the undecideds. If the CDA wants to win, it needs to attract VVD voters. That’s not impossible, but it will force the CDA to veer to the right, which might help its left-wing competitors CU, PvdA, and maybe even D66.

It seems that the country is slowly getting ready for a new Purple coalition. As in 1994, the most important point of this coalition would be getting rid of the CDA; and it’s this negative reason that resonates most clearly with D66 and undecided voters. And just as in 1994 the VVD will be the toughest nut to crack. Back then it was mostly the party leadership that opposed Purple, while rank-and-file members and voters supported Purple. Now it seems that the voters don’t support Purple, either.

This is going to be one hell of a complicated formation. Expect months and months of Dutch politics fun even after the elections.

<— New polls | Polls, polls, polls — PvdA and VVD edition —>

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.


Comments (closed)

1 Posted by Alejandro Moreno on 19 April 2010 | Permalink

"Expect months and months of Dutch politics fun even after the elections."


2 Posted by Joost Diepenmaat on 19 April 2010 | Permalink

"What surprises me most is the lukewarm response to centre-left-green"

Well, I'm not too surprised. My impression is that the CDA is currently very unpopular among the left wing voters. Having to take the VVD in to keep the CDA out would probably appeal to many, especially when the majority of the coalition would be still be center-left.

3 Posted by Joost Diepenmaat on 19 April 2010 | Permalink

Oh, and your link isn't working correctly.

4 Posted by Gerben on 26 April 2010 | Permalink

Just encountered the following article, which says that it is usual that a coalition has a majority not only in the Second Chamber, but also in the First (which is elected indirectly, via the provinces). Not sure if this is really true, but if it is, it would limit the possible coalitions a lot, basically to centre-left or centre-right. For example, the PVV never even entered a provincial election. http://www.bitterlemon.eu/pages/post.aspx?ID=3df98ec8-3d83-471c-a75b-dd762e878b17