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French politics

Apr 21, 2017

UPDATE: Exit polls from France will be published 4am EST (i.e. early Monday morning), and the actual result should be clear about three hours after that, unless it’s particularly close.

There’s a lot of big election news going down right now at the other side of the globe, starting with the first round of France’s presidential elections on Sunday, to be followed a fortnight later by a run-off between the two leading candidates.

Recent polling indicates the two leading candidates are Marine Le Pen of the far right National Front and Emmanuel Macron, a former Socialist running under his own banner. However, polling hasn’t had a great record in Europe lately, and Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has pointed to a suspiciously narrow range of recent French presidential results, which has been known to signify that pollsters are “herding” each other off the end of a cliff. This leaves at least some hope for François Fillon of the centre-right Republicans, whose initially promising campaign has been hobbled by personal scandals. A hard left candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has gained a head of steam over the past month, although his recorded support has recently tapered off at a level below where he needs to be. Head-to-head polling suggests Le Pen would be heavily defeated in the run-off, particularly if facing Macron.

It also emerged on Tuesday that Britain will go to the polls on June 8, for an election that looms as an historic disaster for Labour. The Conservatives’ unexpected majority victory at the May 2015 election was achieved from 36.9% of the national vote, which netted them 330 seats out of 650, compared with 30.4% and 232 seats for Labour. Recent polling has mostly had it in the low forties, but two polls conducted in the immediate wake of the election announcement had them at 46% (an ICM poll for the Guardian) and 48% (YouGov for The Times). Labour’s recent poll ratings have been anywhere between 23% and 29%, with the most recent results being 24% from YouGov and 26% from ICM. This suggests the Conservatives are in a position to match Labour’s historic landslides under Tony Blair, who won 418 seats in 1997 and 413 in 2001.

Both major parties were up slightly on the primary vote in 2015, but the Conservatives emerged the principal beneficiary of the collapse of the Liberal Democrats. By contrast, Labour was devastated north of the border by the triumph of the Scottish National Party, which won all but three of Scotland’s 59 seats, gaining 40 from Labour and 10 from the Liberal Democrats. The seats remaining to Labour are concentrated in London; Merseyside and Manchester; Leeds and its industrial surrounds; Birmingham; Newcastle and Durham; and south Wales. The rest of England’s electoral map is a sea of blue, punctuated by occasional small islands of red, and still more occasional ones of orange (traditionally associated with the Liberal Democrats).

Each of Labour’s stronghold regions consists of a safe core and a less safe periphery, and it’s the latter areas that are looming as the main battlegrounds of a losing election. To isolate one example, Labour holds 45 seats in the area of Greater London, compared with 27 for the Conservatives and one for the Liberal Democrats. It will continue to dominate the city’s inner east even under worst case scenarios, but will come under pressure in as many as ten seats in the west and on the fringe of the Greater London region.

The polls have generally had the Liberal Democrats at around 11%, representing a modest recovery from the disaster of 2015, when they dropped from 57 seats and 23.1% of the vote to eight seats and 7.9%.
However, opportunities for further gains are limited, and the Conservative tide could even cause the party trouble in the few seats it continues to hold. Ukip yielded only the seat of Clacton from its 12.6% share of the national vote in 2015, and lost that a month ago when Douglas Carswell, a former Conservative MP, quit to sit as an independent. Polls suggest the party has shed support to the Conservatives, so its pickings in the House of Commons look likely to remain slim or non-existent.

The polls I’ve looked at for Scotland suggest the Scottish National Party will retain most if not all of its 50.0% support from 2015, so the party will presumably continue to dominate Scotland’s 59 seats, of which it holds all but three. Any talk of a defeat for the government is being framed in terms of its majority being lost to a “progressive alliance” of Labour, the Scottish National Party and the Liberal Democrats, but at this stage it seems very unlikely it will come to that.

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48 comments

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swamprat
Guest

Tyrannical Theresa takes a Timely Tumble

Tory lead drops to “only” 13%.

http://scotgoespop.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/tyrannical-theresa-takes-timely-tumble.html

swamprat
Guest

Latest General Election polling in Scotland:
SNP 43.6% (-0.7)
Conservatives 30.4% (+6.1)
Labour 15.3% (-0.7)
Liberal Democrats 7.0% (+0.7)

“The second update of our Poll of Polls for Scottish voting intentions at the general election is based on two full-scale Scottish polls (from Panelbase and Survation), and eight subsamples (two from ICM, one from Ipsos-Mori, one from Panelbase, one from ComRes, one from Survation, one from Opinium and one from YouGov).”

Tom the first and best
Guest
Tom the first and best
Austerity is a genuine problem in Europe and Macron`s record in his time in the French Government and his history as a banker strongly indicate that he is not likely to take on austerity. Austerity and related policies over several decades have been the most of major causes of the rise of Front National. The Assad apologetics are symptomatic of Mélenchon`s pro-Russian viewpoint, which is troubling given Russia`s domination by Putin and Co. There is far too much support for the Right-wing Putin and Co on the left, especially given Russia is now very right-wing. The rising support for Putin… Read more »
Leroy Lynch
Guest
http://www2.politicalbetting.com/index.php/archives/2017/04/25/first-wave-of-french-second-round-polling-gives-it-to-macron-by-20-or-more/ First wave of French second round polling gives it to Macron by 20% or more April 25th, 2017 http://crookedtimber.org/2017/04/24/macron-leads/ Macron leads! by Chris Bertram on April 24, 2017 Macron has won the first round of the French Presidential election, and I for one am very pleased at the outcome. In the first place, I’m pleased because Marine Le Pen and the Front National have not done better despite circumstances, such as the Nice and Bataclan attacks, that might have been expected to give them a further boost. This suggests that, at least in France, right-wing populism has hit a… Read more »
Raaraa
Guest

Dear generic voter,

http://imgur.com/gallery/nTj1B

swamprat
Guest

Should Scotland be an independent country? (BMG)

Latest Scottish Independence poll

Yes 49% (+1)
No 51% (-1)

So with Don’t Knows included, the Yes vote is up 2%, and with Don’t Knows excluded, it’s up 1%.
http://scotgoespop.blogspot.com.au/2017/04/terror-strikes-tyrannical-theresa-as.html

Steve777
Guest

Better than Fillon-Le Pen contest. Now that would have been a disaster.

The left and centre could have dusted off the slogan from the 2002 Le Pen (snr) – Chirac contest: “Vote for the crook, not the fascist”.

swamprat
Guest

An English Tory MP’s “funny” joke ……

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GjVJI0hJQ8o

swamprat
Guest

Raaraa

“Turnout was 69.42%. A soixante-neuf and the meaning of life. How much more French can you get?”

very funny

Raaraa
Guest
Gorkay King
Guest

Better than Fillon-Le Pen contest. Now that would have been a disaster.

Nicholas
Guest

The French are going to get a pro-US, arch neo/liberal banker/wanker “blairite” as President!!!

Macron will be a hopeless president. He’ll make things safe for the powerful and do nothing helpful for the vast majority of the population. It’s sad that the brazenly corrupt Fillon managed to get 19.5% of the vote.

Ides of March
Guest

Raaraa:

I wonder what the outcome of the Presidential election will have on the parliamentary election.

Macron is part of this new movement En Marche and is fielding candidates in the parliamentary election. Will this be Socialist held seats falling to him? Will it be the end of the Socialists (given Hamons poor results tonight) or will they split?

Similar Le Pen will stand candidates. They currently have two seats. Where will theirs come from? The Republicans? Or more left leaning areas persuaded by her anti-EU stance?

Raaraa
Guest
Swamprat, personally I would have liked to see Macron pitted again Melenchon, but I am only a poll follower and don’t know enough about French issues on the ground to actually pick a side in France. I do would like to see Le Pen out, but I think her people will still be galvanised enough to make a play for parliamentary seats in June. You would only hope that the left parties also put in as much effort. This has more impact than the president IMO. I’m only hoping that in 5 years. the FN will go the way of… Read more »
CTar1
Guest

Raaraa

in the next French parliamentary elections where we still see the old major parties in play.

And the French only get until mid June for them all have to turn out again for that.

swamprat
Guest

Raaraa

What is a centrist?

I see a “centrist” as just a neo-liberal who would allow gay marriage. And surprise, surpeise, that is essentially how Macron defines himself? i.e. both economically and socially “liberal”.

swamprat
Guest
Given that, in western countries, both the traditional “left” and “right political movements are run by neo-liberal ideologues, the poor and powerless have no option but to vote for rightist parties. Though ineffective, a protest is the only use their vote has. It will happen here if the right ever got a rational political leader and party. A comment in the Guardian by a French voter: “During the campaign, one leftwing voter, an IT worker in Angers, said he worried about Macron’s championing of the globalisation that had made so many working class people angry and sceptical of the ruling… Read more »
swamprat
Guest

Wow, The French are going to get a pro-US, arch neo/liberal banker/wanker “blairite” as President!!!

I gather he supports “free” markets, labour market “re-structuring”, open door immigration … …. all the idols of the neo-liberal right establishment in their fight to increase corporate power.

Raaraa
Guest

I’m pretty glad that the French polling has been pretty accurate compared to the ones in the US and UK lately.

Still I have to say I am a bit concerned (not so much in the presidential run off, but still anxious) in the next French parliamentary elections where we still see the old major parties in play.

Socrates
Guest

Raaraa
Thanks, I did not know that about Melanchon. Still I am pleased to see the result so far. I agree the EU needs reform but think it has been too much maligned. It is the ECB and its austerity policies that really need to be overhauled or broken up. The EAu itself still has many other policy benefits.

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