The city council of Amsterdam has started an online poll among citizens about the Canal Parade. They want to know what they think about this iconic event of the Amsterdam Pride. Among LGBTQI+ people in Amsterdam it has raised the fear it might be a step towards banning the Canal Parade.
A poll of doubtful quality
In seven questions people are asked what they think of the Canal Parade and if they have visited the event. We took a look at these questions and thought it quiet an amateurish way of polling. Most questions are open, which sounds good. But how are you going to interpret the results if thousands of people are writing what they think? How can you base statistically sound conclusions on these answers? And on top of that: when you fill in your answer, you get suggestions of answers of other people who have used the same words. That creates a bias in the answers people fill in, because they follow examples suggested by the software instead of their own words.
The online battle to influence the outcome
Meanwhile an online campaign of interest groups have tried to influence the online poll. An organization of people living in the city centre has spread the link to the poll in their online network. The message from this organization was a veiled advise, to influence the outcome of the poll. “This poll may change the city’s policy on events like the Pride. This depends on how you fill in the poll.”
As a reaction the Amsterdam Pride organization has also activated its’ social network to fill in the poll. They hope to balance the outcome in that way. The director Amsterdam Pride stated in the local press that he is “confident that the majority of the Amsterdam people support the parade.” But he also stressed the importance of a more scientifically sound poll is necessary. “Otherwise a small ‘not in my backyard’ action group can take over a poll like this”.
The political fight
The poll was commissioned by the alderman of the party Groen Links (Green Left), Rutger Groot Wassink. That is in some way unexpected, because his party is normally in the fore front of standing up for LGTBQI+ rights. It is no surprise that other parties who normally stand up for LGTBQI+ people, like the social liberal D66 and the conservative liberal VVD, have raised the issue in the press and with the alderman.
Rutger Groot Wassink hastened to react that he would not consider the outcome of the poll as a scientific result to base his policies on. But he also added that “the appreciation for the Amsterdam Pride and Canal Parade is changing over time”. This confirmed fears at the Amsterdam Pride organization that forces who want to get rid of the Pride and the Parade are strengthening among policy makers.
Have your say
If you live in Amsterdam and read this article, you can also have your say about this poll. It is in Dutch, but we translated the questions into English. So that you expats and tourists are not left out.
First question: your email address (you’ll get an email to verify this email address).
Question 1: Did you visit the boat parade in 2018? Yes or no
Question 2: What grade would you give the boat parade of Pride Amsterdam? 1 is very negative, 10 is very positive
Question 3: What aspect of the boat parade do appreciate most?
Question 4: If you could change one thing of the boat parade, what would it be?
Question 5: For the statistic processing of the survey, we ask a few background questions. Taking part in the survey is anonymous. What is your age?
Question 6: What is your postal code?
Question 7: Do you identify yourself with the Pride Community?
Here is the link to the poll.