For BMGN – Low Countries Historical Review, I have written an article that unravels the appropriation of electoral opinion polls by Dutch public broadcasters and their deployment in radio and television formats from the 1960s until the 1980s.
This article demonstrates that Dutch broadcasters used polls to claim a crucial role for themselves as the intermediaries between political elites on the one hand and the electorate on the other. What is more, this article contends that polls on radio and television were making the political weather as much as reporting on it. Progressive broadcast editors and polling experts appropriated polls as a means to promote the notion of Dutch voters as consumers in an open marketplace, who were no longer bound by traditional loyalties such as religion or class. As such, they boosted new, ‘depillarised’ ways of understanding politics.