Did Muslims vote en masse for the Freedom Party? This impression was created when party leader Geert Wilders announced this the day after his election victory, and the claim was subsequently reported in the media. This is not true, says Sunny van Oosten, a political scientist and researcher at the University of Oxford.
“Muslims do not vote en masse for the Freedom Party,” Van Oosten says by phone from England. “It’s actually not a surprising result. I didn’t expect anyone to find this information so interesting.”
Van Oosten is currently working on a large international study. It looks at the extent to which potential voters, especially minorities, vote for politicians who are similar to them. The Dutch are also involved in this.
This research is derived from that database. Tens of thousands of participants were asked about their immigration background, but at the time it was not yet a question of their voting preference. Ultimately, more than three thousand people participated. This led to the killing of 234 Dutch people who called themselves Muslims.
The political scientist asked these people how likely they were to vote for the Freedom Party. Respondents can indicate their preferences on a scale from 0 to 10, with no being 0 at all. I have published the results X.
The vast majority of participants (more than three-quarters) answered “0.” About one in ten entered No. 1 and a small group (nearly 6 percent) polled No. 5. Almost no one answered that they would likely or most likely vote for Wilders’ party.
“People might hear in the hairdresser or in the football cafeteria that the Freedom Party is popular among Muslims,” says Van Oosten. “That is of course eye-catching, so that image will stick.” “But when I heard that I thought: Damn! I have data here! There is no basis for this claim at all.”
Many DENK voters are among Muslims
Van Oosten’s findings are consistent with the 2021 National Voter Survey conducted after the House elections.
Two years ago, Dutch people with a Moroccan background voted mainly for DENK (more than 40 percent). Many Dutch people with a Turkish background did so, although their popularity declined slightly compared to the 2017 elections. PvdA, SP and D66 were also popular parties among these groups. PVV is barely reflected in these statistics.
The Freedom Party won the election comfortably with 37 seats. The party’s statement includes a proposal to ban mosques, Qur’ans, and Islamic schools. Reports that many Dutch Muslims were going to vote for the Freedom Party were therefore surprising.
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