Undecideds in the polls

I mentioned this in my last poll report, but it deserves a separate entry. How do Dutch pollsters treat the undecideds? What does that mean?

As far as I can see now those respondents who reply that they don’t know yet for which party they’re going to vote are ignored by the pollsters altogether. All poll reports assign all 150 seats in parliament, with no room for undecided voters.

Right now I have the feeling that more left-wing than right-wing voters are undecided. Cohen was slated to be the saviour of the left, but his recent conduct both in the debates and with the constant changes in the PvdA election programme has weakened his position considerably. Therefore I feel that some left-wing voters who initially planned to vote PvdA are now reconsidering, and have become undecided.

Simultaneously, the left is declining in the polls. Where about six weeks ago the combined left had about 68 seats, it now only has 62. This could of course be a true shift from left to right, but it might also mean that so many left-wing voters are undecided that it’s starting to have a noticeable effect on the polls.

Thus my theory is that undecided left-wing voters aren’t represented in the polls at all, and that that depresses the combined left-wing score a bit. In the actual elections the left will win some more seats than the current 62.

This theory is easy to prove or disprove. Yesterday’s debate was the first time that all four left-wing party leaders were on the national stage, and I think that, with the elections approaching fast, undecided left-wing voters will make up their minds.

Thus I expect that in the next slate of polls the left as a whole regains a few seats on the right, while within the left block the PvdA loses some seats to the other three parties.

Let’s hope new polls are released quickly, so that I can test my theory.

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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.

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