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.