"30% of the electorate still undecided"

With just over a week to go before the general election a new poll suggests Bart De Wever's Flemish nationalists of N-VA have a commanding lead picking up over 30% of the votes in Flanders. The Christian democrats of Flemish premier Kris Peeters have improved their share of the vote, while the Flemish liberals of Open VLD do not seem to be able to hold on to earlier gains and have dropped behind the Flemish socialists of SP.A.

The poll was commissioned by the Flemish public broadcaster VRT and the daily De Standaard and was conducted between 5 and 13 May.

It probed support for the parties in the elections for the Flemish, the federal and the European parliament. Today the parties seem to be able to count on similar levels of support for the Flemish and federal parliaments, while the European election does seem to be a different ball game.

In the poll for the European elections Jean-Luc Dehaene's Flemish Christian democrats lead at the expense of the Flemish nationalists of N-VA. The poll was conducted before the death of the former Flemish Christian democrat premier. Mr Dehaene was an outgoing Euro MP, but was not standing for election this time round. It's not entirely implausible that Mr Dehaene's death will attract a significant sympathy vote that is noticeable on all levels.

Federal

In the poll the Flemish nationalists of N-VA are the strongest party in the Chamber of Representatives picking up 31.9% of the vote in northern Belgium - up from 28.2% at the last election in 2010. The poll shows a resurgent Christian democrat party: the CD&V takes a 19.7% share of the vote - up from 16.4% in April's poll.

The Open VLD liberals fall back on 13.7% making Gwendolyn Rutten's party smaller than the Flemish socialist SP.A that can count on the support of nearly 15% of the Flemish electorate. The ecologists of Groen are on 9.2% and the far-right Vlaams Belang on 7.7%. In 2010 Vlaams Belang polled 12.6%. The far left PVDA only takes a 2.6% share.

As a result of the recent state reforms there are no direct elections for the senate. Senators will be designated by other Belgian assemblies.

Flemish parliament

The poll results for the Flemish parliament show the N-VA on 31.8% - up from 13.3% in 2009. Flemish premier Kris Peeters's Christian democrats pick up a 20% share, while the socialists are on 14.4% and the liberals on 13.1%. The ecologists of Groen take 9.5%, Vlaams Belang 8.4%.

Europe

The poll results for the European election show the Flemish nationalists on only 20% compared to 27.3% in last month's poll. The Christian democrats have improved their performance up over 5% to 24.3% this month. Are the Christian democrats benefiting from the invisibility of the N-VA's lead candidate Johan Van Overtveldt?

The Open VLD liberals poll 19.3% thanks to the high visibility of Guy Verhofstadt, a former Belgian premier who is the European liberals' candidate for the job of commission president. The socialists put down an improved score: over 15%. Groen is on 11.4%, Vlaams Belang on 7.7% and PVDA on 1.4%.

The poll was conducted by telephone with 1043 people taking part. Some 30% of respondents said that they still had not made up their mind. Taking part in the election is compulsory in Belgium.