N-VA falls below 2010 electoral figures

  • Two surveys in a row show wavering in the N-VA’s popularity.
  • The reason? The nationalist group’s miscommunications.
  • And the healthy state of the federal government.

The nationalist machine is sputtering. A new survey indicates lagging support for both the party and its charismatic leader, Bart De Wever.

The opinion survey performed by De Standaard and the VRT (Flemish Radio and Television Broadcasting Organization), credits the N-VA with a score of 27.9% as opposed to its May level of 32.1%. Compared with the poll conducted in September 2012, the gap widens to 8.4%.

Bart De Wever’s party has, for the first time, dropped beneath its 2010 election performance, where the party garnered 28.2% of the votes.

This is the second recent survey that demonstrates that the national group is losing ground. On September 1st, the Grand Baromètre Le Soir-RTL indicator showed the N-VA at 30.7% versus 35% at the time of the previous indicatory poll performed last June.

The nationalist party’s slippage seems to translate into an advantage for the CD&V and VLD. The Flemish Christian party has registered a 1.6% jump compared to the last survey where it reached 17.4%. As for the Flemish Liberals, they gained 10.1% for a total of 13.8%. Next comes the SP.A with 13.4%, recording a 1.3% decrease, while Vlaams Belang is holding steady at 10.6%. Then come the Greens at 10%, registering a 0.5% increase.

Another indication of the N-VA’s problems is the popularity of politicians in Flanders. Kris Peeters, the CD&V Flemish minister-president, remains in first position. Bart De Wever, however, yields second place to Maggie De Block, the VLD secretary of state of asylum and migration. Elio Di Rupo comes in seventh and still beats the CD&V deputy prime minister Pieter De Crem.

The Flemish were not very supportive of Bart De Wever for the position of prime minister. They seem to think that Kris Peeters is better equipped to serve in that capacity (30%). Bart De Wever still finishes second (24%), beating Elio Di Rupo (20%). The Flemish are especially adamant that Didier Reynders should not become the prime minister. Only 3% would like to see him in enter that office.

Is this the beginning of the end for Bart De Wever? Not so fast. The N-VA is still by far Flanders’ favorite party. It does seem to be stalling a bit, though. Two major factors could explain this disappointment. First was the recent party miscommunication. One of its heavy hitters, Sigfried Bracke, intimated that his party could rise into a government without requiring confederalism. The national party base misunderstood him so completely that Bracke found himself having to clarify his statement.

The other factor contributing to the N-VA’s troubles is the overwhelming popularity of its opponents: Di Rupo and his government. Half of the Flemish people polled trust the Di Rupo team, and as an individual, the prime minister has charmed 60% of Flemings. No one has seen such high scores since the Verhofstadt government. This highly influential survey could jolt the N-VA into action. The task, though, won’t be easy for the nationalist party. The polls seem to indicate that the voting public is more concerned about socioeconomic management than institutional claims. It then seems inevitable that if the N-VA overdid things in that area, it would pay dearly. As far as socioeconomics are concerned, the CD&V seems to be in a more favorable position. Will the N-VA reach 40% by 2014, as stated hopefully by Geert Bourgeois, another major player within the party? Right now, it’s not looking so good.

BERNARD DEMONT

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