Thursday, September 15, 2011

Socialist Debate Thread

I'm watching the Socialist debate but would rather hear your comments than offer my own, so feel free to use the comment button below. My chief reaction, at the midway point, is that I'm glad the primary is only a month away. I'm not sure the country can take much of this. I must say, Hollande, for a front runner, came off as an awfully angry man, while Royal, the seasoned candidate, seemed (characteristically?) ill-prepared. Montebourg's opening statement was very polished indeed, but I'm rather allergic to his main formulas, démondialisation et protectionnisme. And now the feed is getting flaky. I hope it's back for Aubry.

The televised political debate has to be one of the least intellectually satisfying forms of political discourse ever invented. Surely there's a better way.

Socialist Divide

Hollande continues to lead Aubry by a considerable margin, at least in the polls. The latest, from BVA, has some interesting demographics:
A noter : le profil de leur électorat respectif commence à se distinguer nettement. Hollande séduit d'abord les plus de 50 ans, les cadres et les employés. Aubry attire plus les jeunes (moins de 34 ans), les femmes, les professions intermédiaires et autant les salariés du service public. 
Les électeurs potentiels certains de participer se recrutent logiquement à gauche (73%), d'abord chez les sympathisants du PS (52%), les écologistes (10%), du Parti de gauche (7%), du PCF et de Lutte ouvrière (2%). On en trouve cependant aussi à droite : 7% disent voter UMP, 8% au FN et 1% MoDem et Nouveau Centre. Et 10% se disent sans proximité partisane.
In other words, Hollande's electorate looks like Sarkozy's: older voters, managers, white-collar private sector workers, whereas Aubry's is more classically "socialist": public-sector workers and youths.

In tonight's debate, it will be interesting to see if the candidates try to reach out to each other's electorate or instead seek to consolidate support among the voters they have already won over. With the usual caveat: assuming the polls are accurate, which is a big "if."

China on Our Minds

US and European attitudes toward China differ sharply:

In contrast, the Europeans see China as an economic opportunity rather than a threat. Majorities in The Netherlands, Sweden, Britain and Germany said they considered China an economic opportunity. This was the reverse of the United States, where 63 percent of respondents felt that China was an economic threat and 31 percent saw it as an opportunity.