VVD, PvdA could lose big in city elections

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The VVD and PvdA might face a big defeat at the upcoming municipal council elections on the 19th of March, as a study reveals that local parties are popular this year. 

Right now, both parties only have 7 percent of voters secured, according to an investigation published on Wednesday by the BMC bureau. The 2010 local elections saw the two parties win 16 percent of the votes.

"VVD and PvdA backers are unhappy about cabinet policies and local parties are presented with the bill. The influence of national politics on the municipal council elections is dominant", lead researcher Marcel Boogers, professor for Innovation and Regional Governance at the University of Twente, says.

Some VVD and PvdA voters already decided that they would step over to another party this year. The PvdA is especially losing votes to the SP, and the VVD is bested by local parties. Many voters are still deciding on which direction to go.

More than a third of the participants still have yet to make a decision, even though the elections are two weeks away. Within this group, doubters are especially those with previous loyalty to PvdA and VVD.

In the run-up to the previous elections in 2010, 16 percent of all voters were in doubt.

Local parties seem to be leading the race, and might win the elections, as they did four years ago. Together, local parties have most voters in their corners. At this moment, one in six Dutch people want to vote local. That percentage will rise if the doubters make their decision. Boogers expects that the locals will even do better this year than they did in 2010, when they got a quarter of all votes.

Of the national parties, the CDA is in the lead. The Christian Democrats should get around ten percent of the votes. D66 is level with PvdA and VVD. The investigation has placed the PVV at just 2 percent, but that's because Wilders' party is only participating in The Hague and Almere.

Boogers' investigation also reveals that there is a difference in towns and rural areas. Big cities seem to support the D66, and in smaller communities, local parties are favored. The investigation has had input from 1905 people. "This number is enough to make trustworthy judgements about the Dutch population" the researchers say.

Earlier this week, a separate study found that immigrants in the Netherlands are also changing their political allegiances.