Monday, March 19, 2012

What's Up with French Youth?

First the Left lost the workers. Now, the polls say, it is losing the young:
Hollande voulait être le candidat de la jeunesse. Mais il a de la concurrence. Selon un sondage CSA pour BFM TV, il ne recueille que 18% des voix des 18-30 ans contre 25% pour Nicolas Sarkozy et 26% pour…. Marine Le Pen. A l’inverse, il arrive largement en tête chez les 18-22 ans. Selon un sondage Ifop pour l’Association nationale des conseils d'enfants et de jeunes (Anacej), il obtient 31% des voix dans cette population, il est suivi par Marine Le Pen avec 23% puis par Nicolas Sarkozy avec 21%.
And the winner is Marine Le Pen, although it's doubly humiliating for Hollande, who has courted the youth vote, to be bested in this category by both Le Pen and Sarkozy. Of course the strikingly contradictory results for the 18-30 and 18-22 categories are not only puzzling, they suggest that we might want to read these polls with a grain of salt. Still, I suppose that part of the explanation of whatever is going on has to lie in this graph of youth unemployment:


Mitch Guthman said...

I think that Mélenchon and Le Pen are gaining everywhere because they have something to say. They have ideas and concrete proposals to address the problems confronting France. They have a vision for France and Europe. Mélenchon is a little too far left for me but at least he is fighting the good fight.

Sarkozy and Hollande are corporatists who really have never had much of a political philosophy (except, obviously, for some variation of corporatism). Do you really know the first 10 things Hollande would be after the election? What would be the first legislation he would pass?

Hollande has simply wasted an irreplaceable opportunity to introduce himself and to lay out his plan of action and vision for France. He may still be the frontrunner but I think he’s a very lackluster politician who is receiving very poor political advise.

Anonymous said...

I don't think Hollande was ever after the youth vote with his "youth first" ideas. Rather, he was after their parents' and grandparents' vote. Indeed it's frightening for older adults to see what reduced opportunities await French teenagers. Most of them have grown up being told that they can't do x y or z, that they will have many years of unemployment during their lives. When they graduate they discover they cannot have a job (except for $300/month internships). Apparently the average age for French graduates to land a job is 27. It's worse all around for those with a non European name or darker skin. So their parents worry. Young people don't vote but parents do. Hollande's scheme was always aimed at that category. He spoke about youth, not to youth.
He needs to up his game with youth and working class voters or things could get tougher than planned.