Friday, April 11, 2014

Hollande Approval at Scarcely Believable 13%

No "Valls effect" reads the headline: after the nomination, Hollande's approval rating has fallen again to 13%, according to this poll. This is scarcely believable: given the inevitable number of "low-information voters," you'd think that noise alone would boost anyone--Astérix, Mickey, a drunk Gérard Depardieu--above 13%. Of course it's not difficult to explain why there was no post-Valls bounce: the nomination surely pissed off the last remaining left-PS voters still willing to give Hollande the benefit of the doubt. And why would center-rightists approve of Hollande simply for nominating a PM they might like better than, say, Arnaud Montebourg?

But it's really rather alarming. Given the importance of the presidency in the French system, the slightest hiccup could precipitate something close to a legitimacy crisis. There is no cushion. And with the FN likely to score big in the next elections, what response can there be from the government. The remaniement option has been used up. There are no more chairs to shuffle, no lambs to be sacrificed. The president is exposed. Something had better turn up.


Siegfried said...

Curious epoch in France, actually, M. Goldhammer. We really can't predict what will happen, even just after the european elections.

Epoch of tears and opportunities.

Anonymous said...

Then there's this poll from TNS-Sofres - which may be more reliable than YouGov -, which has Hollande 3 points up.


Mitch Guthman said...


Thanks for the link. I think I’ve found the source of the TNS Sofres poll that RTL used:

I never knew this existed, so I’m grateful for the tip. This is just some amazing stuff. There was a video clip of analysis but my comprehension of spoken French wasn't good enough to really follow him. Nevertheless, this is just a treasure trove of useful information!

I have no idea what the margin for error is on either poll but I suspect that Hollande’s 3 point gain is well within it In any case, Hollande is in good company since Rachida Dati also gained 3 points.

The question is whether the big bounce that Valls and Royal got will last. It will be interesting to see the polling for May and June. My guess is that most of these gains for PS figures who have moved into the government will fade unless Valls actually does something significant to spur demand and economic growth, which doesn’t look likely to happen.

Cincinna said...

In polling terms, 3% is well within the Margin of Error (MOE) and both polls are equally bad news for M. Hollande and his Socialist party.
If he merely rearranges the deck chairs on the Titanic, without a fundamental change of course, to continue the nautical analogy, the ship of State will sink, and the captain will go down with his ship.
This would leave France, and the Vème République in uncharted waters, at a time of serious economic and social distress, high unemployment, and lack of support for the existing system.
None of us has a crystal ball, and it is impossible to predict where this all will lead. It is cause for great concern on all sides.

Anonymous said...

Out of the post European election chaos will a VIth Republic emerge? No say some, perhaps say others, meanwhile Valls is stirring up a hornets nest with plans to redraw the regional map of France, local caciques are seriously displeased.

FrédéricLN said...

I really can't think this low score is related to being positioned at "this or that" place of a "left to right" scale. Almost wherever you are, you may have more than 13% of people around you.

It's about being disconnected from any reality. Seeing businesses and jobs just as macro-economic aggregates (that may count, for sure). The nomination speech was just surrealistic.

Of course that's not new. But when we hear Elio di Rupo, David Cameron, Angela Merkel or Matteo Renzi, it's completely different: what they talk about is the situation their country is in. Even Barack Obama. Even Vladimir Putin. Even Christine Lagarde.

Manuel Valls has a different, direct tone. That gives him a high score. But where is the substance? Announcements for 2016-2017 are just as good as none. We'll see if something real is in the way. And we'll see how people react — I've no idea.

Since a good ten years, many of us think France is in "1788", at the tipping point to a global rejection of the regime. Okay, this 1788 year lasts since ten years, we were wrong.