Sunday, April 24, 2011

The FN and the Working Class

A new poll has Marine Le Pen drawing more working-class votes than either DSK or Sarkozy. (Yes, I am aware of the shortcomings of the polling method, the interval between now and the election, etc. etc.) This is not a new phenomenon, and there has been some discussion in the literature of its sociological basis (e.g., the way in which the FN supplanted Communist Party social organizations in declining industrial regions as the PCF began to bleed members after 1989). Still, to the extent that anything like a coherent working-class culture remains in France, it is sad to see the FN making such inroads. It should be said, however, that 36% support for Marine Le Pen corresponds to 64% non-support. One needs to measure the lack of enthusiasm for the alternatives before drawing too firm a conclusion about the FN's strategy. The perennial question about the FN vote--protest vote or vote of adhesion?--remains largely unanswered.