Political mistrust greatest in “rural provinces”: study

Distrust in politics is greatest among residents of the provinces that fall outside the Randstad, according to research by Kieskompas for the regional broadcasters. Residents of the “rural provinces” most often answered that “distrust” was their most dominant feeling when thinking about politics,” NOS reports.

Zeeland residents feel the distrust the most, with 51 percent calling it their dominant feeling. Limburg is second most distrustful, with 45 percent. Remarkably, among Groningen residents – many of whom are still struggling with damage caused by the gas extraction earthquake – only 36 percent said distrust was their main feeling regarding politics.

Distrust was the most dominant feeling about politics in nine of the twelve Dutch provinces. In the Randstad provinces of Zuid-Holland, Noord-Holland, and Utrecht, the prevailing feeling was “interest.”

The statement “it sometimes seems like Randstad people’s opinion counts more heavily than that of other Dutch people” was also felt most fervently in the non-Randstad provinces. In Groningen, Friesland, and Drenthe, over 80 percent of residents endorsed that statement, compared to 58 percent nationwide. Nine provinces scored higher than the national average.

Over half of all Netherlands residents (54 percent) think politicians often forget about people in rural areas. People in Groningen (77 percent) and Drenthe (76 percent) feel most forgotten. Utrecht (37 percent), Noord-Holland (40 percent), and Zuid-Holland (49 percent) agreed with the statement the least.

But despite all the reservations, 78 percent of Netherlands residents agree that it is important to vote in the upcoming Provincial Council elections. Only 7 percent said there was no point.

Kieskompas surveyed 4,871 Netherlands residents entitled to vote at the end of January for this study. The sample and results are weighted by province, age, gender, education, background, and voting behavior in the 2021 parliamentary elections.

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