Cohen apologises for errors and changes

This morning PvdA party leader Cohen apologised for the errors and vagueness surrounding the PvdA election programme and the amount of recent changes in it.

Yesterday it became known that the PvdA proposed an increase in the pension age in 2020, but that an earlier version of its programme called for an increase in 2015. The difference is important, because the earlier programme obviously saves more money, and it’s this version of the programme that has been checked by the CPB (Centraal Planburea; Central Planning Agency).

These calculations of the CPB are about the only more-or-less independent check on party programmes, and the PvdA programme (with increase in 2015) was deemed reasonable. However, if the pension age increases in 2020 instead, the CPB calculations are worthless.

Besides, this is the third change in its programme the PvdA has announced in the last week or so, and people are starting to wonder what to believe. Apart from his dismal performance in the last debate, this vagueness may hurt the PvdA.

It’s for all this that Cohen formally apologised this morning. He took full responsibility for the changes, and said it wouldn’t happen again. He also stated that it’s the CDA that twists and turns and changes things. Although that line of attack worked a few weeks back, right now the PvdA leader is not in the best position to deliver it.

(Sources: Volkskrant | Parool)

Effects on the polls

The other left-wing party leaders are pantingly eager to attack the PvdA, and so is the CDA. All hope that the PvdA goes down and delivers some seats to them. And who knows, that might happen.

What I think is happening right now, with the combined left-wing parties losing four seats in the last poll, is that a few seats’ worth of left-wing voters are undecided.

Now I’m not sure what the Dutch pollsters do with undecideds, but they certainly don’t show up in the formal poll results, which always total 150 seats. It would be interesting to have something like “6 unallocated seats on the left” in the reports. Thus the undecideds, most of whom will vote eventually, would be represented properly.

So my theory is that currently a lot of left-wing voters are undecided, are not counted by the pollsters, and as a result the left temporarily loses seats to the right. I expect at least some undecideds to make a choice after tonight’s debate, which will lead to PvdA losses, gains for the other left-wing parties (but which ones?), as well as a generic left-wing gain on the right.

<— New post-debate poll; next debate coming | The 26 May debate —>

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.

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