First let’s get back to the core: what does strategic voting mean? “At its core, it means that you do not vote for the party of your first preference, but for another party to achieve some kind of tactical goal,” explains political science professor Tom van der Meer. The tactical choice often resembles the preferred party in terms of positions.
The goals that can be achieved with this differ. For example, you can vote to get a party into the House of Representatives or to ensure that a position that is important to you ends up in the coalition or to prevent another party from becoming the largest.
Right-wing parties such as the VVD and PVV are also trying to get strategic voters on their side, sees pollster Gijs Rademaker. “The PVV sees the polls as a boost and hopes for a large number of strategic voters who think: for the first time it is possible to make the PVV the largest and to have it respond. This motivates voters from, for example, FvD or JA21 to vote for the PVV. to vote.”
Battle for climate
The strategic vote is also fully used in the battle for the climate voter between GroenLinks-PvdA, Party for the Animals, Volt and D66. The three parties all want to speed up the climate plans and argue that a right-wing cabinet will not benefit the climate. The parties are therefore doing their best to make voters believe that they have the best interests of the climate at heart.
For example, D66 believes that our country should be climate neutral by 2040, while the current outgoing cabinet assumes 2050. According to D66, all fossil subsidies should also be abolished and the largest polluters should be taxed higher.
The Party for the Animals goes furthest in the field of climate. For example, the party wants a climate-neutral society in seven years and the industry must therefore be 100 percent green. According to the PvdD, halving nitrogen emissions by 2030 is inevitable.
At GroenLinks-PvdA, halving nitrogen emissions by 2030 is now off the table. According to the party, a few large companies cause the most pollution. That is why the party wants to introduce an efficient CO2 tax and abolish fossil subsidies. Companies that want to become more sustainable receive financial support for this. In addition, flying becomes more expensive, depending on the party.
Not always wise
Is it wise to listen to Timmermans’ call to vote strategically? “There is nothing wrong with strategic voting, but strategic voting is not always effective in a country like the Netherlands,” says Van der Meer. In the Netherlands, voting is mainly strategic to influence the coalition, says the professor. “But for that you need a lot of information and knowledge, which is not yet available.”
Voters who vote strategically for the sake of the coalition are therefore at risk. “You don’t know in advance whether it is useful, so you may end up empty-handed.”
The advantage is that strategic voters do not stray far from their own norms and values. “If you are left-wing and want to vote strategically, you will not suddenly vote radically right-wing,” says Van der Meer. The party that is strategically voted on will therefore in any case have positions that the voter supports.
The largest gives no guarantee
It is not yet certain whether and what effect the strategic voters will ultimately have. “So far, the GroenLinks-PvdA combination has made slight gains, but Timmermans is not the largest in any poll,” says political reporter Fons Lambie. “But four parties are now so close to each other in the polls: it is very exciting who will be the largest, so we will know on Wednesday whether the GroenLinks-PvdA strategy was successful or not.”
Even if Timmermans were to become the largest, there is no guarantee that his party will be in the cabinet, says Lambie. “In 1977, PvdA member Joop den Uyl won, but Dries van Agt ultimately became prime minister because he reached an agreement with the VVD, without the PvdA.”
Even if Timmermans takes the lead in the formation, a cabinet with only left-wing parties is not possible according to current polls. “Timmermans will then have to rely on support from, for example, NSC and VVD. That will be a complicated battle between left and right on issues such as climate, migration and economy. But we will only know how difficult it will be after the election results.”