N-VA appears to be losing the battle for market leadership with Vlaams Belang in a new poll, De Wever remains the most popular politician | Domestic

In a new poll by De Standaard and VRT NWS, the N-VA, still clearly the largest Flemish party in 2019, drops below 20 percent. The battle for market leadership with Vlaams Belang appears to be lost, is the conclusion of researchers Stefaan Walgrave and Jonas Lefevere (UA): the extreme right-wing party polls at just under 28 percent.

After Vlaams Belang and N-VA, Vooruit is virtually the largest party, although the Socialists follow at a considerable distance with 13.7 percent. Compared to the same poll last year, they also lost more than 3 percentage points. The resignation of chairman Conner Rousseau may have something to do with this, although the researchers warn that the difference with 2023 is just not statistically significant.

For the CD&V, the constant decline in the polls seems to be coming to an end. The Christian Democrats achieved 11.3 percent, still considerably less than their election result of 15.4 percent in 2019, but a lot better than the polls of recent years, where they never exceeded 10 percent.

After CD&V, the smaller parties follow on a handkerchief. The extreme left PVDA leads the tail group, with 10.7 percent of voting intentions. The party thus doubles the election result of 2019. Open Vld follows with 9 percent, stable compared to 2023. The red lantern is Green, which achieved 8.2 percent and has therefore lost roughly 2 percent since the 2019 elections.

10 percent still undecided

The differences between the parties are very small, especially at the bottom of the peloton. The fact that 10 percent of the voters surveyed are still undecided may therefore play an important role in June: after all, those respondents were not included in the survey. The same applies to those who indicated that they would not vote, would vote blankly or would vote invalidly

The mutual shifts between parties are also interesting. For example, the N-VA is losing votes en masse to Vlaams Belang, but there is also a loss towards Vooruit and even PVDA. The Flemish nationalists do attract voters from CD&V and Open Vld. The latter party loses on the left to Vooruit, on the right to N-VA and Vlaams Belang and in the center to CD&V. Those votes are not regained anywhere. The opposite applies to Vlaams Belang: that party wins almost everywhere and loses nowhere. Finally, Vooruit wins against all parties, except for PVDA and Vlaams Belang.

‘De Stemming’, the annual opinion survey by De Standaard and VRT NWS, was conducted by researchers Stefaan Walgrave and Jonas Lefevere (University of Antwerp) among 2,029 Flemish people between January 8 and 22, before the large-scale farmers’ protests. Due to the margins of uncertainty, the order of the parties may deviate: for example, if CD&V achieves its maximum score and Vooruit the potential minimum score, then the Christian Democrats are not the Socialists, but the Christian Democrats are the third party. Even the PVDA can in principle take that place.

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Bart De Wever still the most popular politician

N-VA chairman Bart De Wever remains by a wide margin the most popular politician in Flanders. The top five consists of De Wever (11.3 percent), Prime Minister Alexander De Croo (7.8 percent), Vlaams Belang chairman Tom Van Grieken (7.6 percent), PVDA chairman Raoul Hedebouw (2.8 percent). and Conner Rousseau (2.6 percent). De Croo thus rises from third to second place, but according to the researchers this has nothing to do with the growth of his own popularity, but with the fall of Rousseau. No other Open Vld politician is in the top 20.

Rousseau drops from more than 10 percent to 2.6 percent, and is back at the level of 2020. His resignation in November after racist statements has plummeted his popularity, but he remains the most mentioned Vooruit politician. His successor Melissa Depraetere enters the top 20 in fifteenth place and becomes the fourth most popular party chairman.

When we look at the top 7, every party is represented for the first time. This is mainly due to the rising popularity of Green minister Petra De Sutter, who rose from place 10 to place 7. Number 6 is Hilde Crevits, but within CD&V, Vincent Van Peteghem in particular is growing in popularity. Jo Brouns, Annelies Verlinden and Sammy Mahdi are also narrowly in the top 20. The poll was conducted before the major farmers’ protests, which may have an impact on the popularity of Minister of Agriculture Brouns.

The researchers also point out that De Wever and De Croo also receive many votes from outside their supporters. De Croo even has more fans outside than inside the Open Vld. Politicians from the far left or right, such as Hedebouw and Van Grieken, have little appeal outside their own party.

Finally, it is striking that 34 percent of respondents, or more than one in three, indicate that they do not feel represented by any politician. In 2023 that was still 31 percent.


OUR OPINION. “Bart De Wever (N-VA) uses his own nightmare as leverage”(+)

ANALYSIS. Carl Devos about De Wever’s apparent opening towards Vlaams Belang: “His strategy radiates desperation and then he starts to threaten”(+)