Poll tips good Dutch turnout for EP elections
28 May 2004 , AMSTERDAM — A new Gallup survey has suggested 38 percent of the Dutch electorate will vote at the European Parliament on 10 June. That would be the highest Dutch turnout for the European elections in 15 years. Just 29.9 percent of Dutch voters voted at the last European election, almost a European record for poor voter turnout.
28 May 2004
AMSTERDAM — A new Gallup survey has suggested 38 percent of the Dutch electorate will vote at the European Parliament on 10 June. That would be the highest Dutch turnout for the European elections in 15 years.
Just 29.9 percent of Dutch voters voted at the last European election, almost a European record for poor voter turnout.
Across the entire European Union, the Gallup poll indicated that 45 percent of voters will definitely cast their vote. A further 6 percent are "almost certain" of voting, meaning it is possible that the 49 percent turnout recorded at the last poll might be topped this time around
The best turnout of voters is expected to occur in Belgium, where 76 percent are tipped to vote. Voting in European elections is compulsory in Belgium. Luxembourg is next with 73 percent, while Cyprus, Greece, Malta and Italy are also expected to top 60 percent.
In Sweden, the UK, Portugal and Poland, voter turnout is expected to be below 40 percent. The least amount of interest is in the Czech Republic, where just 20 percent of the electorate is expected to make it to a polling booth.
Dutch Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) reacted warmly to the Netherlands' poll results, with Christian Democrat CDA European election party leader Camiel Eurlings saying they were "a positive signal".
The Liberal VVD's Jules Maaten also said it was good news that the Dutch voter turnout might improve, Dutch public news service NOS reported on Thursday.
But Socialist Party (SP) election leader Erik Meijer remained skeptical. He said there were similar indications in the lead up to the last election, but the turnout was very low.
On assignment from the European Parliament, Gallup interviewed 12,184 Europeans, including 493 Dutch nationals. The most Dutch people who do not intend to vote believe their vote doesn’t count.
In a series of questions delivered to people who did not intend to vote, 59 percent said they do not sufficiently know the role of the European Parliament and 61 percent said they were not sufficiently informed enough to vote.
For those who said they intend to vote, 78 percent said a party's stance on European issues was essential in their choice, compared with an EU average of 68 percent.
And 76 percent also said a party's national stance was essential, while the personality of candidates was only essential for 40 percent of voters, much lower than the EU average of 57 percent.
Two-thirds of the 493 surveyed Dutch nationals (69 percent) said they felt attached to Europe and 88 percent think that EU membership is a good thing.
For 40 percent of Dutch voters, terrorism was the most important campaign theme that should be focused on at the coming European election, while for the EU as a whole, 61 percent said unemployment was the most important issue.
Both in the Netherlands and the 25-member European Union, the environment loomed as the least important election issue.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news