A growing political polarisation on ethnic integration policy is characteristic of current discussions in Dutch politics. The preferences of Dutch citizens, by contrast, remain fairly stable over time. Thus, polarised politics in the Netherlands is assumed to grow apart from the preferences of ordinary citizens, leading to a gap between politics and society. The present article describes and compares trends in societal and political polarisation on ethnic integration policy in the Netherlands between 1994 and 2006. Three mechanisms are explored that explain a discrepancy between trends in political and societal polarisation: (a) parties' responsiveness to political elites, (b) mean partisan representation, and (c) issue salience. Analyses of data from Dutch election studies and party manifestos reveal the existence of a discrepancy in trends. Political polarisation appears to be associated with trends in mean partisan polarisation and in issue salience, and not with trends in political elite polarisation.