What is important to the Flemish? What are their concerns, dreams, fears and desires? And how do these relate to politics? With these and other questions, VRT News wanted to gain a clear picture of societal trends, evolutionary developments and values in Flanders in the build-up to the 2014 Belgian federal elections.
Big societal questions obviously require large-scale studies. After a qualitative pre-phase we identified 65 current topics. By means of a questionnaire with 3,345 respondents, we were able to measure the attitudes of Dutch-speaking Belgians towards these topics. In order to ensure that the large amount of information remained clear and controllable, we searched for the main dimensions in the data (by means of factor analysis). Those dimensions brought a structure to the story and gave us a frame of reference around which we were able to organise the insights.
Our quantitative, psychometric approach did not only allow us to answer concrete questions very clearly, we were also able to plot the values and motivations of Flemish people within a motivational framework. This made it clear how various political parties were perceived and how they related towards each other in a richer and broader way than the typical left-right opposition.
The current affairs TV programme Terzake dedicated a whole week to the analysis and discussion of the results. On the news website ‘deredactie.be’, the results were extensively covered and debated in various articles. VRT made the results publicly available and, in so doing, allowed everyone to obtain a clear view of societal trends, evolutionary developments and value patterns and the impact of these on the political landscape.