The Dutch national elections, held on 15 March 2017, were closely monitored across the globe in the wake of the Brexit referendum and the U.S. presidential elections. National and international media sought communication scholars at the University of Amsterdam for their expertise. This frequently included graduate students, since in the weeks before the the elections many of them were completing PhD dissertations on Vote Advice Applications, the impact of media coverage of opinion polls, and the role of news coverage for floating voters.
In total, various news media outlets interviewed political communication faculty and PhD candidates at ASCoR 100+ times during the election campaign, on issues such as the impact of social media impact, fake news, political microtargeting, the impact of news on public opinion, media and populism, and the changing political landscape of the Netherlands in relation to the EU. Outlets included CNN; BBC; Al Jazeera; The New York Times; Heute; and virtually all national Dutch newspapers, as well as national news in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Belgium, and Britain. (Many of the media performances are listed here.)
Claes de Vreese, director of ASCoR’s political communication group, concludes that communication scholars did a tremendous public service for the Dutch electorate and the wider world that was observing them. Their involvement also showed that our discipline has great relevance in understanding the dynamics of pivotal elections.