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Hearts, Minds, and Tulips: The Contribution of Active Intelligence in Understanding Dutch Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  Capelos: Emotionality, Vote, and Party Identification - 9 - Taking into account the above, one can say that in the Netherlands parties play simultaneously a more prominent and a less significant role, in comparison to the United States. On the one hand, parties hold more power than their respective candidates and leaders. On the other, the bonds between parties and voters are weaker due to the decreased ideological distances between the parties. Voters navigate between many party choices using ideological criteria, issues such as immigration or animal rights, and religious denomination that go beyond candidate preferences. As we are about to see, these qualitative differences have implications for the understanding of the role of emotionality in general, and anxiety in particular, in Dutch politics. Anxiety in Context: Presidential and Parliamentary Democracies Emotional reactions are not foreign to Dutch voters. The fall of the cabinet- Balkenende II, that led to the November 2006 election was largely a function of the voters’ anger and dissatisfaction with the way minister Verdonk addressed the Second Chamber (de Volkskrant 2006). Dutch political leaders acknowledge the significance of emotionality for voters’ preferences, and make conscious efforts to incorporate positive emotions in their profile. At an interview with Algemeen Dagblad, Jan Peter Balkenende, who is often labeled cold and impersonal noted “I am a feelings person, but I am not the Prime Minister to cope with my personal feelings. What do these feelings contribute? The Netherlands needs a leader who is honest, firm and clear. Somebody who does what he says”. Emotionality references are also evident in pre-election media. On the one hand, image makers urge candidates to speak with a lower voice to inspire authority, and in a higher voice to generate enthusiasm (Dagblad Tubantia 2006; Mees 2006). On the other hand, opinion leaders note that training does not make a political leader emotionally competent, as nobody can hide their true feelings fully, and point attention to non-verbal display of emotionality, such as posture and body language (De Volkskrant 2006). Rietveld and Uitentuis (2006) note on the inefficiency of available polling measures to capture the affective character of citizens’ preferences. Political scientists have also started to pay attention to emotionality in the last decades, following the changes in the Dutch political scene. Rosema (2004) provides the first empirical evidence that feelings towards political leaders play a role in vote, through

Authors: Capelos, Tereza.
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Capelos: Emotionality, Vote, and Party Identification
- 9 -
Taking into account the above, one can say that in the Netherlands parties play
simultaneously a more prominent and a less significant role, in comparison to the United
States. On the one hand, parties hold more power than their respective candidates and
leaders. On the other, the bonds between parties and voters are weaker due to the
decreased ideological distances between the parties. Voters navigate between many party
choices using ideological criteria, issues such as immigration or animal rights, and
religious denomination that go beyond candidate preferences. As we are about to see,
these qualitative differences have implications for the understanding of the role of
emotionality in general, and anxiety in particular, in Dutch politics.
Anxiety in Context: Presidential and Parliamentary Democracies
Emotional reactions are not foreign to Dutch voters. The fall of the cabinet-
Balkenende II, that led to the November 2006 election was largely a function of the
voters’ anger and dissatisfaction with the way minister Verdonk addressed the Second
Chamber (de Volkskrant 2006). Dutch political leaders acknowledge the significance of
emotionality for voters’ preferences, and make conscious efforts to incorporate positive
emotions in their profile. At an interview with Algemeen Dagblad, Jan Peter Balkenende,
who is often labeled cold and impersonal noted “I am a feelings person, but I am not the
Prime Minister to cope with my personal feelings. What do these feelings contribute? The
Netherlands needs a leader who is honest, firm and clear. Somebody who does what he
says”. Emotionality references are also evident in pre-election media. On the one hand,
image makers urge candidates to speak with a lower voice to inspire authority, and in a
higher voice to generate enthusiasm (Dagblad Tubantia 2006; Mees 2006). On the other
hand, opinion leaders note that training does not make a political leader emotionally
competent, as nobody can hide their true feelings fully, and point attention to non-verbal
display of emotionality, such as posture and body language (De Volkskrant 2006).
Rietveld and Uitentuis (2006) note on the inefficiency of available polling measures to
capture the affective character of citizens’ preferences.
Political scientists have also started to pay attention to emotionality in the last
decades, following the changes in the Dutch political scene. Rosema (2004) provides the
first empirical evidence that feelings towards political leaders play a role in vote, through


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