The new Peil.nl poll has been released and I added it to the polls page. In addition, Peil.nl released some extra polling focused on the SP.
First the poll itself. It confirms the current trend of seats flowing from PVV to SP, and the SP has now even become the largest party in the country. (SP: 32, VVD: 30, PVV: 20)
It seems clear that one of the three main right-to-left conduits has opened, and as a result the right loses seats to the left. (The other two main conduits are from VVD to D66 and from CDA to PvdA.)
Still, this is Peil.nl we’re talking about, and to be frank I do not completely trust their polling. To me it’s too pro-left, and too much out for sensational headlines. The SP becoming larger than the VVD seamlessly fits both.
Nonetheless, when it comes to trends I trust it more than when it comes to absolute numbers; especially if those trends are confirmed by the other pollsters. The recent TNS-NIPO poll does exactly that, although the left as a whole and the SP are smaller than with Peil.nl.
I’m eagerly awaiting the Politieke Barometer of next Thursday. If it confirms the movement from PVV to SP we’re really in business, and Wilders is really in trouble.
Peil.nl also split out the vote by income groups (low, middle, high), and it’s there that we see an explanation for the current voter shift. It turns out that the low income groups are massively turning from PVV to SP. Where at the end of 2011 18% of low-income voters voted PVV against 17% SP, now it’s 32% SP vs. 12% PVV. The SP also drew low-income voters from GL, D66, and the PvdA. The same pattern, though less extreme and without GL, also occurs with the middle incomes.
In other words, the SP now truly had a chance to become the default left-wing party, shoving too-centrist PvdA and vaguely left-liberal GL aside. The time has truly come for the SP to enter a coalition and deliver the prime minister, as is the largest coalition party’s privilege.
In fact, my coalition calculator has shown for a while now that an SP-led centre-left coalition is somewhat more likely than a VVD-led Purple, centre-right, or right coalition.
Peil.nl asked voters several SP-related questions, and one of them was whether it would be good that the SP entered government. Obviously SP voters were in favour, but so were PvdA, GL, and, surprisingly and by a narrow majority, CDA voters. That’s a recipe for a centre-left coalition with three left-wing parties and the CDA, and headed by Roemer.
Another question: do you think SP leader Roemer will make a better prime minister than PvdA leader Cohen? Painfully, even 35% of PvdA voters said Yes, and among the voters for all other parties a majority agreed.
The real problem with coalition with the SP is the VVD. Without the VVD, a centre-left coalition would likely have to include all four left-wing parties in addition to the CDA, but with the VVD a whole new slew of coalitions becomes possible.
Will SP and VVD cooperate? Roemer recently stretched out a hand to the liberals; pointing out that as an alderman in the southern town of Boxmeer he has already formed an SP/VVD coalition. True, on a national scale that’s different than on a local one, but still. So far the VVD has rejected Roemer’s overtures.
Peil.nl also asked whether a SP/VVD coalition was impossible. 39% of SP voters answered Yes, meaning that a majority wouldn’t mind the coalition. 50% of VVD voters rejected the coalition. Some work clearly needs to be done here.
Of the other parties, a majority of PVV and PvdA voters also reject the coalition, while majorities of CDA, D66, and GL voters thought it possible.
Finally, what of this month’s big loser: Geert Wilders and his PVV? He has some tough choices to make. It’s clear that his recent fall in the polls come from his support for government’s hard-right policies. Thus, from an electoral point of view it would make sense if he increased the distance between himself and government.
Still, the obvious result of more distance would be the fall of government and new elections; elections where Wilders would likely face seat loss.
What to do? My guess is that Wilders will remain loyal to government for now in order to avoid new elections. He can hope that somewhere in the future the pendulum swings back to him, at which point he can again consider blowing up government with less damage to himself.
Still, supporting government has become more tricky because one after the other the left-wing parties made it known they won’t support the new saving plan for 7 billion euros. Thus government is totally dependent on Wilders, and he can no longer avoid making choices.
Basically he has to decide whether his right-wing ideas are more important than the populist (i.e. economically left-wing) ideas of his voters.
Stay tuned. This is going to be interesting.
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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.