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Elections in France: An Eerie Stability

by | April 23rd, 2012 | 02:13 pm

Like a majority of my Excel-equipped compatriots, I did a bit of post-election math, and what strikes me most about the first round of the French presidential elections on April 22, 2012 is the similarity to the 2002 results if you look at political voting blocs instead of individual candidates:

Left: 43.8 percent (2012) vs. 42.9 percent (2002)

Center: 9.1 (2012) percent vs. 8.72 percent (2002)

Right: 29.22 percent (2012) vs. 29.21 percent (2002)

Far right: 17.9 percent vs. 19.2 percent (counting National Front dissident Bruno Mégret together
with Le Pen Père in 2002)

The main difference is inside the left:

Center-left: 28.6 percent (2012) vs. 23.8 percent (2002)

Far left and greens: 15.1 percent (2012) vs. 19.1 percent (2002)

The 2007 poll was exceptional in that there was no incumbent and thus an unusual sense of freshness in the mainstream parties, which was absent in 2002 (both Jacques Chirac and Lionel Jospin were incumbents) and is absent this year too.

So I believe the comparison with 2002 is the most relevant. If you accept this, the general picture is one of eerie stability, except that the Socialist Party has cast its net farther to the left than before—consistent with Francois Hollande’s anti-rich rhetoric.

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