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Dutch Election Watch
Is Wilders Experiencing A Trump Slump?

Geert Wilders, the populist provocateur politician who has long topped the polls for the Netherlands’ general election, appears to be slipping ahead of the vote next week. Could Wilders be losing steam because of a Trump slump? Bloomberg seems to think so:

While Wilders’s anti-Islam, anti-European Union Freedom Party, known as PVV in Dutch, has been ahead of Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s Liberals for much of the campaign, recent polls show that lead evaporating. A Peil.nl poll published Sunday showed the Freedom Party would get 25 seats in the 150-seat parliament, down from 29 a week ago, narrowing its lead over the Liberals to one seat. […]

“There was a rise shortly after Trump was elected, but now support is falling,” said Maurice de Hond, owner and founder of Peil.nl. “Voters have now become negative about the measures taken by President Trump. This could also be a reason for the somewhat weakened position of the PVV.”

It is certainly true that Wilders’ rivals are trying to tar him by association with Trump’s excesses, and it is possible that displeasure with Trump could be marginally contributing to his slip in the polls. But the complexity of the diffuse Dutch race, where 28 parties are vying for spots in parliament, ought to caution against convenient single-factor explanations for a polling drop.

In fact, the trend can be explained by any number of factors that have little to do with President Trump’s actions in Washington. For one, the vast majority of established Dutch parties have ruled out forming a coalition with Wilders’ party, giving potential PVV voters second thoughts about registering a protest vote. Moreover, Wilders’ decision to keep a low public profile and skip debates has allowed other parties to capitalize on his absence and make a pitch to his voters. With parties on both the left and right embracing aspects of the Wilders agenda, voters who share his concerns about immigration, for example, might opt for more mainstream parties with a bigger chance of legislating new restrictions.

Regardless, the past year of electoral shocks offers a cautionary tale against selectively reading polls to dismiss a potent populist threat. No matter how Wilders fares on March 15, the fact remains that he has topped the polls for months, and his message is resonating—especially, but not exclusively, among lower-educated voters who have most severely felt the economic sting from immigration. As Wilders himself hinted recently, he could lose the battle but win the war: “You can notice that we’ve basically already won the elections before they’ve started because everyone is moving towards us,” Wilders said on Sunday. For better or worse, that trend could continue even if Wilders is defeated.

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  • Fat_Man

    Given how well the polls have done in predicting elections in the US and the UK this year, pundits should be chary about spinning stories based on polls.

  • Unelected Leader

    Polls are bunk either way. People are too fickle. And they are often designed by partisans for biased reasons. Tried to crush trump support too but they failed.

    • Suzy Dixon

      Yes, and that’s not mentioning the way the leftist MSM simply drives support for candidates like Trump underground, so they can’t get accurate polls if they tried.

    • Andrew Allison

      Surely the evidence is clear that people being polled give answers that will make the pollster think well of them rather than what they really think. That said, of course the poll questions are, in many cases, designed to produce the desired outcome.

  • Angel Martin

    I urge all leftists to stick with the pollsters and political “analysts” that told them Brexit had no hope and Hillary was a lock !

    • Andrew Allison

      The statements from the other parties that they will not enter into a coalition with Wilders are intended to dissuade voters from voting for him. If, in fact, his party manages to win more seats than any other, we’ll see just how dishonest they are as they surrender “principle” for power.

      • f1b0nacc1

        I suspect that in this case, they will stay true to their ‘principles’ as such. I support Wilders, but to the political class he is radioactive. This isn’t the first time this sort of thing happened…look at what went on with the elder Le Pen when he ran for office in France, and what is likely to happen to his daughter this time….

        • Andrew Allison

          What a relief [grin] Apples and oranges. Politicians are venal, and I have not the slightest doubt that should the situation arise, expediency will overcome principle. Furthermore, there’s no analogy with Pen Pere, who is certifiably crazy, or Pen Fille, who will certainly make it to the second round (and be defeated by a grand coalition of the establishment parties in the second, thereby strengthening the FN)

          • f1b0nacc1

            I agree with you about the Le Pen the Elder (who was an absolute nutjob), but the tactics used against him were essentially the same as will be used against his more sane (though still a bit looney) daughter. My point was not that the Le Pens are two peas in a pod (though this being the EU it would be 10000 peas in heavily subsidized pods), but that the political class would put aside whatever differences that they may have which each other in order to squash these outsiders…

          • Andrew Allison

            That’s what I wrote. But we should also consider the extent to which the Le Pen threat has moved the establishment parties to the right (just as Bernie moved Crooked Hillary to left). The same is true in the Netherlands.

  • FriendlyGoat

    People either want a Trump of their own or they don’t.

  • D4x

    Good analysis. Of course there is a But, why would Trump have coattails in the Netherlands, where Wilders has been in politics since 1990.

  • Joey Junger

    Is Wilders skipping the debates out of disrespect, or out of fear for his life, because adherents of the Religion of Piece are thinking of decapitating him a la Theo Van Gogh? One of the things that might explain Wilders’ slippage is the sheer terror that people in Europe and Scandinavia feel about publicly addressing their concerns about immigration, because, you know, they don’t want to face massive fines, lose their jobs, or be physically attacked by antifa, or thrown in jail (all of which the Left condones and is working hard to make more possible via falsely-labelled “Hate Speech” laws).

    Wilders has some advantages that his enemies don’t have, namely that the truth corroborates his rhetoric, while the other side has to threaten to scramble to suppress stories and reports that make them look, at best, negligent, and at worst, like monsters who have basically offered their nations up to hostile foreign invaders.

    Even if Wilders (or Le Pen) were to win, I’m pretty sure they would face constant threats of impeachment, and be undermined at every turn (and maybe assassinated). The Davoisie deep state is even deeper than ours, and their spying and intelligence agencies are interconnected and very synergistic.

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