Rutte IV, Cabinet for its supporters. When the new Rutte Ministry takes over in a few weeks, with VVD, D66, CDA and ChristenUnie, this alliance will have to deal with a complicated start. More than at the beginning of the previous ministries, the voters of the four parties were very supportive of the coalition, while other citizens markedly distrust it.
This is evident from a study not yet published by the research agency Kantar. The research shows that the crisis of confidence between citizens and politicians appointed by the four parties last week is serious. But it is a crisis that is taking place mainly, and more acutely than before, outside the ranks of the coalition parties. For example, 86% of CDA voters and 78% of VVD voters trust Rutte IV, while this is not found among supporters of opposition parties: 5% in GroenLinks, 1% in SP, and only 14% in New Building Party volts. In total, a quarter of voters have confidence. “Trust among opposition parties is alarmingly low, while support among coalition parties is astronomically high,” said researcher Manuel Cal. “This polarization is much stronger than at the beginning of the previous reservoirs.”
This big difference could put the coalition parties in a dilemma. It can be tempting to serve your supporters, because other voters already have little or no confidence beforehand.
Coalition party voters are also much happier with the coalition agreement than in 2017. More than half of VVD, CDA, and D66 voters are (extremely) satisfied. The additional billions for education, climate, defense or housing, researcher Cal says, have boosted support for Rutte IV. Incidentally, other party voters are also satisfied with the extra outlays without big cuts, except for those for PVV, JA21 and BoerBurgerBeweging. The abolition of the value-added tax on fruit and vegetables gets the most support: 91 percent. Relatively unpopular measures: preparation for the introduction of road pricing in 2030 (33% in favor) and an additional €500 million for development cooperation (26% in favour).
An interesting site is the position of ChristenUnie. More than two-thirds of VVD, D66 and CDA supporters are happy with what has been achieved in the coalition agreement. At ChristenUnie, that percentage is much lower, at just 40 percent. Four years ago it was 57%. The party confirmed the results of the past four years. This is now much more difficult, for example because medical ethics has been categorized as a “case free”. Members of Parliament are allowed to make their own assessment, and the Convention does not stipulate anything. For example, the full life law of D66, which ChristenUnie has serious objections to, could be dealt with during this cabinet period. Scholar Manuel Cal says skeptical supporters are making the Christian party’s position difficult. “It just takes one problem that’s not in the coalition agreement, and the puppets are dancing in the coalition.”
Read also: Reactions to the coalition agreement: From ‘cautiously positive’ to ‘not cheering for gestures’
A version of this article also appeared on NRC on the morning of December 23, 2021
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