Polls split on new cabinet popularity

Voters may be more positive than negative about the new centre-left Dutch government but two polls out on Thursday are sharply divided about how happy people are.

According to Maurice de Hond 60% are positive about the new Christian Democrat, Labour, ChristenUnie government. But Newcom Research puts the figure at just 39% and says 29% lack confidence in the new cabinet.
And while everyone has heard of prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende and finance minister Wouter Bos, many of the other new ministers are unknown. The least familiar (only 9% have heard of her) is the new Labour environment minister Jacqueline Cramer.
After her meeting with Balkenende today she told the press that she is depending on the support of her cabinet colleagues and the business community to achieve the ambitious environmental goals set by the new cabinet. ‘I won’t be able to do it alone,’ said the former environmental activist.
Another outsider to join the cabinet is geneticist Ronald Plasterk, the new Labour education minister. According to the Newcom poll, almost half of the population are familiar with Plasterk – not surprising as he has a regular newspaper column. ‘The job of a columnist is to be sharp. I realise that this is a different role than that of a minister,’ said Plasterk.

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