Monday, July 1, 2013

Villeneuve-sur-Lot Analyzed

IFOP has analyzed le report des voix in the second round of the Villeneuve-sur-Lot by-election. The results:

Selon cette estimation, qui ne constitue pas un sondage mais un calcul statistique de report des votes, 62 % des électeurs de gauche auraient préféré s'abstenir ou voter blanc, 15 % auraient voté FN et 23 % pour le candidat de l'UMP Jean-Louis Costes, élu député à la place de Jérôme Cahuzac, démissionnaire.
There is a little in here for everybody's theory. To be sure, left-wing voters did not react en masse as they did in 2002 to ensure the election of Jacques Chirac against Jean-Marie Le Pen. Some interpret this as the collapse of le front républicain. This strikes me as excessive. The same left voters showed no enthusiasm at all for the candidates of the Right. The vast majority simply stayed home, no doubt surmising, correctly, that the Republic would stand even if a 23-yr-old Frontiste were elected to the Assembly to replace a corrupt Socialist minister. Of those who did vote,  60% voted for the "republican" candidate. So there was hardly a massive defection to the FN. The IFOP analysis also shows that there was a "substitution effect" in the second round: many voters who had not voted in the first round voted in the second, and a slight majority of these voted for the FN candidate. This may have been a sign of latent support for the FN, or, just as likely, a "pox on both your houses" message to the "republican" parties that la France profonde hasn't much use for either of them.

Once again, attempting to read the mood of the nation from the results of a by-election in a rural district are not likely to yield much of value.


bernard said...

Indeed there appears to be a little bit here for everyone, but from my point of view, a very major point is that the FN's success did not come primarily from the defection of PS voters to the FN in the second round: if this poll is anywhere close to accurate, than we can surmise that of the 20 extra points for the FN between the first and second round, only four came from electors who had voted for the PS in the first round while 16 came from other sources. Obviously, that is 4 too many and it must be fought against resolutely. But still, 16 from other sources.

This is a very fundamental point as it once again demonstrates that the electors gained to the FN do not primarily come from the left. I repeat, they do not come from the left.

We have been fed relentlessly in the eighties and nineties press analyses that the emergence of the FN was based on electors directly shifting from the communist party to the FN whereas any careful and detailed analysis of poll results broken down by polling station demonstrated that this was not and could not be numerically correct. Yet these analyses kept on coming and had a profound influence on political strategies in those times to counter the rise of the FN and of course history witnessed that these strategies - like all strategies based on a defective factual analysis - had no success as the FN kept on climbing.

Replace the communist party by the socialist party and you have the new fashionable BS analysis. If we keep using wrong factual analysis to counter the FN, the same results will occur.

So, let me end up with a nice little factual pointer: back in the seventies, before the FN started to rise, both the Gaullist and the communist party polled about the same in the category "ouvriers et employés" (more or less lower class in English). In fact, the Gaullists used to boast a lot about that (famous quote: entre les communistes et nous - the Gaullists - il n'y a rien.). So the reality is that the electors who shifted to the FN from that category in the eighties mostly did not come from the communist side of things.

And today, even a casual observation of the public attending FN meetings etc. shows to anyone who cares to observe that this public is not especially from categories that have been particularly victimised by the economic crisis that has griped France since the late seventies: they look like everyone.

I believe that the principal culprit in this is quite simply change - the rapid transformation of the world economy, often-times called globalisation - and its corollary, a profound fear of the future and the search for culprits for why the world does not stay still and why olden times must give way to new times. That is what electors of the FN look like: people who idealize a past that never actually existed.

FrédéricLN said...

The "message to the "republican" parties that la France profonde hasn't much use for either of them." is to be heard in Main Street, also out of Villeneuve. And must admit that EELV, MoDem and smaller parties are all enclosed in the "republican" set as far as this state of mind is concerned. Hope is the absent feeling.

I don't remember whether you already commented the very fine analysis by François Miquet-Marty of Viavoice :

" Les électeurs conventionnels croient toujours aux étiquettes partisanes et au système bipartisan PS/UMP et votent en fonction de celles-ci. Pour une frange croissante d'électeurs, au contraire, les étiquettes politiques n'ont plus aucun sens. Ces électeurs n'ont pas d'identité partisane et votent en fonction de leur humeur qui peut être liée à l'exaspération économique et sociale, à la personnalité du candidat, etc.

Une dynamique du FN est à l'oeuvre et part d'un constat d'échec que font les électeurs face aux responsables politiques des partis traditionnels qui dirigent le pays depuis 20 ou 30 ans."

This will not determine the issue of all "municipales" elections, as many Mayors are considered as successful.

But that's the present public mood regarding national issues, and even more, European issues.

And unsurprisingly! The European concerns rolled since four years about the Greek-and-other-failing-States case, and since 2012, even the top decision-makers must admit, with IMF, that they did nothing correct and lost billions for nothing at least during the first 3 years of the crisis.

What is this for a track record?