Friday, June 8, 2007

The Vote, Analyzed

Scholars from CEVIPOF analyze the presidential election in a series of three articles in Le Monde (here, here, and here).

Some highlights:

Sarkozy revives a "cross-class vote that the right has not seen for forty years," taking 54 percent of managers and intellectual professions (but contrast figures for "educated" vote below--this category needs to be examined closely and disaggregated carefully), 55 percent of lower-level white-collar workers, and 52 percent of blue-collar workers.

A bright spot for the Socialists: Royal took 63 percent of the under-25 vote, 16 percent better than Jospin did with this group in 1995. She also took 56 percent of the vote of those with at least a bac. And 94 percent of the Muslim vote (Sarkozy, on the other hand, got 77 percent of the practicing Catholics). The 94 percent figure will remind Americans of the black vote for Democrats. Americans will also find familiar the Socialist success among both "insiders" (the well-educated, the urban elite, civil service employees) and the "excluded" (minorities and youth, even if the exclusion of the latter is in many cases relative and temporary) but failure to capture a vast in-between group comprising "people of modest means, elderly, non-urban, and working class." More surprisingly, perhaps, she also lost the female vote, of which she took only 46 percent.

Finally, in the first round, Sarkozy took 38 percent of those who had voted Le Pen in 2002. As for the possibility of rebuilding the left by drawing votes from the center, the transfer of votes in the second round does not bode well for this strategy: "Sarkozy made strong inroads in the emerging moderately independent centrist vote."

The picture is thus reminiscent of George Bush's 2000 and 2004 victories and of the red-blue divide in the United States. The educated upper middle class in positions relatively isolated from the vagaries of the economy joins with the excluded underclass but is defeated by a coalition drawn from the ranks of management in businesses exposed to global competitive pressures and the struggling rural, lower-middle, and working classes fearful of competition from below and abroad and resentful of the "privileges" accorded to the educated elite and of its assumption of cultural superiority.

Such a coalition may be fragile, as American experience has shown, but France has no war on its hands and no potent religious right, and the Fillon government is both more open to the opposition and potentially less incompetent than the Bush government.

1 comment:

Deckard said...

Two questions about this post: First, can you give the dates of the Le Monde articles you reference, because the links no longer work? Second, do you know where to find data on the gender gap in French voting? I.e a brakdown of the vote by gender?