Thursday, June 5, 2008

"J'ai changé"

"Approval ratings" are of course meaningless, and reporting them is the "degree zero" of blogging, so normally I avoid doing so. Nevertheless, it's probably worth noting two things about the latest SOFRES-Figaro Magazine barometer. First, Sarko is back (+5). Second, Besancenot's appearance chez Drucker seems to have been a smart move, at least if you think that the revolution is going to be made in bourgeois living rooms on a Sunday afternoon: he gained 7 points (up to 43% positive, or 6 points ahead of Sarkozy). This might be an astonishing result if it meant anything other than that Besancenot passe à la télé comme une lettre à la poste. So Sarko seems to have benefited from his relative sobriety plus Carla's charm offensive, while Besancenot has found the formulae to make le grand soir as unthreatening as a friendly soccer game among drinking buddies.

And yet a substantial majority of the French (77%, up from 73) worry about "social conflicts" to come. If and when they do come, you can bet that Sarko's soft support will solidify very quickly. Just as people who saw de Gaulle as usé in early May of '68 were rallying around him by the end of the month, many who mocked Sarkozy as a buffoon will be the first to close ranks in a crunch. Yet lurching from cynicism to reaction is not a sign of political good health, even when leavened by velleities of revolutionary bonhomie

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