With the Dutch election happening tomorrow, things are looking bad for the dark horse candidate Geert Wilders and his Party for Freedom (PVV). Even though Mr. Wilders’ party has enjoyed the highest polling numbers since August of 2015, the past week has shown a slip in the popularity enjoyed by the far-right figure. According to the latest Ipsos poll taken today, Mr. Wilders’ party is nine points below the current favorite and incumbent VVD party.
However, for those who are hoping for another far-right victory, there is still hope lying in the trends. It is hard to ignore the parallels between the populism of Brexit and Mr. Wilders, and the polling for each shows a trend of underestimating the populist option by many percentage points. In the case of Brexit, the polling done by ‘What UK Thinks’ had Remain up by four percent on the eve of the vote, leaving Brexit with a mere 48 percent. In reality, the numbers were completely the opposite with Leave getting a 52 percent turnout instead. The reason for this has been guessed to be the ‘Shy Tory’ effect, the timid feelings some voters have with telling a pollster the truth about their voter preferences.
Given that Mr. Wilder’s party largely defines itself by being anti-migrant and anti-Islam, it is hard to take any polls seriously that have Mr. Wilders falling in the polls when the last week saw the complete vindication of Mr. Wilders’ words against Islam. This revenge came in form of riots in Rotterdam by Turkish migrants. The riots were in response to the Dutch government’s refusal of a Turkish minister to hold pro-Erdogan rallies.
In reality, it’s highly likely that the Shy Tory effect and the Turkish riots happening right before the election will provide just enough power to Mr. Wilders’ campaign to propel him over the top and shake the foundations of politics in the EU to the core.