Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Detailed Analysis of Villeneuve-sur-Lot

This marvelously detailed analysis of voting in Villeneuve-sur-Lot is the best I have seen. Would that one had instant analyses of this sort for every election.

The ‘republican front’ strategy has been challenged and almost thoroughly discredited since 2010. On the one hand, the UMP no longer automatically endorses the left against the FN and many UMP leaders - Copé first and foremost – have had ambiguous statements on all this. The UMP nowadays tends to prefer the ni ni strategy – neither the left nor the FN – although the party remains split between a moderate faction of the ruling elite which still has sympathy for the ‘republican front’ and a more conservative activist base which has a large minority favouring open electoral alliances with the FN. The PS, meanwhile, still has a preference for the ’republican front’ but the UMP’s strategy has unnerved it, to the point where some local PS candidates will endorse neither the UMP nor the FN. Recently, there were allegations that the PS in the Vaucluse covertly supported FN candidate (now deputy) Marion Maréchal-Le Pen by not withdrawing its candidate from the three-way runoff in which Marion Maréchal-Le Pen emerged victorious.
Finally, the continuation of a ’republican front’ strategy tends to play right into the FN’s hand. A large part of Marine Le Pen’s rhetoric is denouncing the corrupt ‘UMPS’ elites – a message incessantly regurgitated by her new circle of obedient young leaders and candidates, including the FN candidate in this constituency. A ‘republican front’ between UMP and PS can easily be presented by the FN as ‘proof’ that both parties are, in reality, two sides of the same coin and are in cahoots with one another. And neither the UMP nor the PS try very hard to disprove that – PS deputies recently found common cause with UMP deputies in significantly watering down the government’s post-Cahuzac transparency and ethics legislation.
As in the Oise-2, this by-election has shown two things – the PS is unpopular and faces an electoral drubbing if these numbers hold up in a national election; the FN is the only political force in the country which is truly on the upswing and it has proven that it has a remarkable ability to gain significant support from one round to another in duel runoffs. The cordon sanitaire is – in good part – gone. The FN has a far less ‘toxic’ image. Marine Le Pen’s dédiabolisation efforts are paying off, and many voters – left and right – are willing to vote for the FN over a more ‘acceptable’ party in the runoff when their preferred candidate is eliminated. We cannot treat voters as mathematical, rational and predictable individuals who can be expected to follow the directions given by their party of choice. Despite the strong enmity between national PS and FN leadership, there is some overlap between both parties. Some left-wing voters will prefer the FN over the right when faced with that choice.


FrédéricLN said...

I agree, at least on most of this analysis. I would wish things be otherwise…

bernard said...

I agree that the analysis looks pretty detailed and so forth but would still like to issue a word of caution: the author(s) quote actual voting numbers only as an afterthought.

It is in my experience often misguiding to judge the results of local elections (ie that of a circonscription or a small town etc) from percentage calculations alone. The raw numbers matter a lot more and I would argue that candidates look a lot more at raw numbers than at percentages. This is because in these sorts of elections, especially by-elections, participation is often quite different than it is in national elections. I suspect in fact that a "major" candidate's main question upon witnessing the results of a first round is never "did I get 20% and my adversary 30%". His/her question is "quelles sont mes réserves de voix (how many extra votes can I hope for in the second round)" and how to go about securing these extra votes compared to the first round.

Now I am not arguing that the analysis in the linked article is wrong necessarily. It is simply too percentage influenced for my taste and I would have preferred if it based itself primarily on raw numbers, including those of some specific polling stations, to gauge exactly what transfers of votes occurred. Especially in a special situation such as this one.

If it is indeed the case that a significant number of previous electors of Cahuzac went straight ahead and voted for Marine Le Pen's FN, then that is a catastrophe both for my party, the PS, and for intelligence. For she proves in her everyday's unguarded moments that she is as fascist and obsessed as her father, witness today's latest batch on France Inter being a "radio bolcho" (Bolshevist radio...!!! What next? Jews at the helm?).