News - September 13, 2012

Poll: PvdA and D66 come out top

Students and staff stay true to the left. Big majority for centre-left coalition.

If the new Dutch government were to be elected by Wageningen UR, it would be dominated by the PvdA (labour) and D66 (a left-of-centre liberal party). So says a poll among staff and students held by Resource on election day. Among Wageningen students both Pechtold (D66 leader) and Samsom (PvdA) scored 34 seats. Staff are even more outspoken in their preference: with 44 seats for the PvdA and 47 for D66, the two parties could form a coalition themselves with a clear parliamentary majority.
For the poll 611 students and 181 staff members were asked on Wednesday morning how they would be voting. It turned out 6 percent of those asked were not planning to vote at all and about 20 percent were still not sure what to vote. The division of seats here is based on those who had made their decision.
GroenLinks (the green left) remains a party to be reckoned with in Wageningen. Among students Jolande Sap's party is the fourth biggest in parliament, with 20 seats, while among staff it is the third (19 seats). Roemer of the Socialist Party seems to appeal to Wageningen students too, judging by the 16 seats he gains. But among staff the SP gets no further than 8 seats. The VVD, too, does better among students than among staff (23 versus 15 seats).
The right-wing PVV party hardly gets a look-in in Wageningen. With 2 seats from the students and 3 from staff members, Geert Wilders remains a marginal figure here. As does the 50+ party, which gets one seat from staff (and none from students) and the pirate party, with one seat from students, none from staff.
Even with the Wageningen result it would not be easy to form a left-wing cabinet. An SP- PvdA-GL coalition would arrive at 70 seats (based on student votes). The Christian Union could then help them reach a majority. There would be a majority for a centre-left government, or a so-called purple one. Not for a centre-right one, though. But then, this is Wageningen. And anyone who thinks the place where they work or study is typical of the Netherlands may be in for a rude awakening.

Kees van Veluw, lecturer in organic farming
 'Party for Animal Rights focuses too much on goldfish'
'I'll be voting for Green Left, despite their internal problems. They want to reduce the tax on labour and increase the tax on natural resources. That will improve the climate and the environment and will also automatically keep people healthier. Other parties see these as separate issues. They want healthcare to be cheaper or an economic recovery but they lack an integrated view of things. I don't quite dare vote for the Party for Animal Rights. They focus too much on goldfish and whether the bowl is big enough. Although I must say I have a lot of respect for Esther Ouwehand.
I have no idea what concerns my students, but I don't get the impression they are very interested in the elections. I just gave a lecture about new drugs in farming and whether this can solve the underlying problems. I ended up with integrated farming. They found the lecture interesting but they don't make the connection with politics.
I'll be voting this afternoon but I fear the VVD will be the biggest party. No, wait, cross out VVD and put PvdA instead. That's a bit more optimistic.'
Irene van der Heijden, Nutrition and Health second year
'Social loan system is clearer than slow student fine'
'This is only the second time I'm able to vote in the national elections and I have prepared thoroughly this time. I had a chat with all the parties at the info market, during the AID. I'm a bit of a lefty, although I had a good discussion with the VVD too. It's just that I don't agree with them. I'm going for D66.
I think education is the most important issue. We must invest in that if we want to remain a knowledge economy. In addition to their studies, it's important that students acquire skills through committee work: chairing, collaborating, being assertive. Otherwise everyone just has the same certificate.
I'm in favour of a social loan system because that's a lot clearer than the slow student fine. Measures will be taken anyway and you want a system that can work in the long term. It's a lot of money but your prospects are clear.
Apart from education, D66 also scores well on healthcare and nature. They make good choices and they remain vigilant. They are also progressive, and change really is needed now.'