France and the False Front
France and the False Front by Anatoly Karlin – UNZ Review
In my coverage of the French elections, I’ve been vaccilating between optimism and pessimism. Obviously, Le Pen’s result – 34% of the vote – was unprecedentedly good, and her popularity seemed to be especially strong amongst French youth. On the other hand, it was perhaps not as good a result as could have been expected, considering she was facing off against the embodiment of an empty suit politician and representative of a political system that has worked hard to delegitimize itself in the past decade. In particular, her failures to make any inroads amongst the French intellectual and professional class, who control 90%+ of the media and universities, is particularly concerning.
Since then, I’ve taken the time to look through French post-elections opinion polls, and I am now leaning much more towards the pessimist side of things. I will mostly refrain from editorializing and just lay out the data, and maybe some of you could come up with a more positive interpretation.
(a) The commenter AP has suggested that the reason MLP performed reasonably well amongst younger French is because more of them stayed home. Indeed, at 25% of the electorate, the rate of abstention in this election has been the highest since 1969.
Moreover, just as AP posited, abstentionism was concentrated Melenchon supporters (36%) and 18-24 year olds (33%) and 25-34 year olds (34%).
According to this poll, 81% of Melenchon voters in the first round ended up voting for Macron anyway (of those who voted at all, obviously). Any talk of “Red-Brown” alliances remains as chimeric as always.
(b) In the OpinionWay poll released soon after the French elections, it appeared that French women – unusually for nationalist parties – were relatively more supportive of MLP than the men (37% to 33%). This would have been pretty encouraging, since women tend to be more conformist, and a better result for MLP amongst them would imply nationalist ideas are infiltrating the mainstream and becoming less tabboo.
Two consequent polls put paid to that, though. In this poll, men were more supportive of MLP than women (36% to 33%), and another IPSOS pollconfirmed that picture (38% to 32%).
Still nowhere close to the 10% point or more gap in male/female voting in the recent US elections, but not a curious exception either.
(c) The biggest #blackpill, though, is the indication that support for MLP ebbs amongst the youngest age group, despite their high abstentionism.
Opinion polls in France have been conflicted on this question:
In particular, a voter poll released just now by OpinionWay is extremely encouraging – an amazing 44% of 18-24 year olds said they had voted for Marine Le Pen, compared to just 20% of over 65 year olds… This standards in positive contrast to a poll from the first round, which suggested that Le Pen’s support peaked at 29% in the 35-49 year old bracket, before declining to 21% amongst the youngest voters. It would also be a confirmation of polls from 2015which indicated that support for the Front National increased monotonically as voters became younger.
OpinionWay, which has a sample of almost 8,000, shouldn’t be dismissed. On the other hand, though, the IFOP survey supports the interpretation that support for MLP peaks amongst the middle-aged, then begins to fall again amongst the youngest voters.
2. Some more observations:
(a) The majority of Macron voters in the second round (57%) were not voting for Macron per se, but against Le Pen.
(b) There were… debates, about who had won the debates. This poll suggests it was Macron – more voters thought more favorably of him afterwards (10%) than of MLP (6%).
(c) The Coming Apart thesis: Of Macron’s voters, 80% said they had benefited from globalization, or at least not lost from it; in constrast, of Le Pen’s voters, some 74% said they were losers from globalization.
Also, a striking graphic from (see right) from The Financial Times in support: Macron won 84% of the vote in the 10th decile of France’s most educated communes, versus 53% in the least educated decile.