Breach of confidence: the majority of peasants no longer vote for the coalition party

Symbolisch voor de afbrokkelende steun op het platteland? De letters van het CDA staan er hier wat onfortuinlijk bij (Foto: Guus Schoonewille/ANP)

Four years ago, the government parties CDA, VVD, D66 and ChristenUnie gained the trust of 64 percent of farmers, the majority. In the most recent poll, that number dropped to 47 percent, who are in the minority.

CDA is losing a lot of support among farmers

In 2017, the CDA was the largest party among farmers with nearly 37% of the vote. In the latest poll, the Christian Democrats were still the largest party in that group, but the percentage of votes had fallen to more than 27 percent.

VVD also loses significantly. Many farmers drop out because they believe that coalition parties have served farmers’ interests poorly, especially when it comes to tackling the nitrogen crisis.

BoerBurgerBeweging benefits

Newcomer BBB (BoerBurgerBeweging) is especially benefiting from the shift in farmer’s voice. In the poll, this party garnered 13% of the farmers’ vote, making it the third party after the CDA and VVD. JA21 (3.4 percent) also benefits.

What is also striking about the survey is that about 1 in 5 farmers have yet to make a decision. “That’s too much for farmers’ conditions, ”says Editor-in-Chief Esther de Snow of Nieuwe Oogst. “The farmers are usually very stable.”

There are a lot of Randstad people in the government

Akke de Haan – Farmer with sheep and organic laying hens

New winds

Akke de Haan (48) from Opende tends over 100 sheep and 9,000 organic egg hens with her husband. So far it has mostly voted for CDA and sometimes for ChristenUnie. But she is getting rid of that now. See more benefits in newcomer BoerBurgerBeweging.

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She began by saying, “CDA has always been good for a farmer, but you don’t see much of that in the past four years.” And I think breathing fresh air in the cupboard is not a mistake. BoerBurgerBeweging does not only appeal to me on the part of the peasants, but also at other points. I will vote for that this time. Maybe I’m quite right and the CDA is moving left. I can’t always agree with that. I know that they are not only cabinet officials, but I think they should be more prepared for them.

The countryside is under subjugation

“The farmers are in trouble,” she continues. Just look at nature politics, solar parks, windmills, and all kinds of threats to the countryside. We live in nature and I see the countryside as different from what the average Dutch person would imagine. There is a big difference between town and country and there are a lot of people from Randstad in government. I think the countryside has to assert itself delicately at this time. We say: Now we’ll do it the way we’re used to here.

To judge, you sometimes have to make concessions

Peter van der Burg – chicken and arable farms

Water with wine

On the other side of the county, in Ostwald, farmer Peter van der Burg, 37, is busy growing fava beans in the fields, who will soon feed him for 70,000 chickens. Van der Burg has always voted CDA and will now.

“Politics is not all about agriculture,” he says. A party like the CDA, but also the VVD and other parties related to agriculture should cooperate with the D66 or the opposition parties. To be able to judge with multiple parties, you sometimes have to compromise, unfortunately.

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Strategic voting

Van der Burg expects little benefit from BoerBurgerBeweging: “ If they get a seat, they also have to see if they can focus more on the farmers’ interests. They will also have to work with others. I understand that people disagree with the current policy. But if you retire to your own club and come up with a new policy, that is not enough. The strength that you have afterward is very weak. Let’s stay organized. I think it would be better to vote for a farmer candidate from one of the big parties. Even the strategic vote.

“It really begins with joining a political party,” he concludes. “When you become a member, you also get an opinion and you have a greater impact.”

It makes sense to vote strategically for a larger party

Omgo Nieweg – dairy farmer

Floating farmer

“I’m not really interested in politics,” says Umgo Neweg, 49. He raises 140 dairy cows on his farm in Adorp. “The last time I voted for VVD, but now I don’t know yet,” he says.

Just like one in five other farmers, Omgo is floating and does not yet know which square they will be red on March 17th. “What I do know is there are actually more farmers who have doubts,” he says over the phone. “I recently spoke to a few fellows who also don’t know and still lean towards PVV. Because if you want change in the countryside then smaller parties, like BBB , Carrying a little weight. I don’t know yet about myself. In general, I think it makes more sense to vote strategically, so for a bigger party it has more impact.

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