French Elections, First Round Thread

Exit polls for the first round of the French elections will be released in a little more than an hour. Here are the simple mean of the fifteen polls conducted during the past week:

Sarkozy (Conservative): 28.4%
Royal (Socialist): 24.6%
Bayrou (Centrist): 18.3%
Le Pen (Fascist): 13.8%
Other / Unsure: 14.9%

The top two advance to the second round, which will take place in a couple of weeks. It is the same system that we have for federal elections in Texas, and for all elections in Louisiana. It is a system that I wish we had in Philadelphia, where our next mayor will be decided by whoever wins 30% in the Democratic primary.

Back in 1995, during my junior year abroad in England, I followed the French elections quite closely. I was rotting for Jospin who, after surprisingly winning the first round, ended up narrowly losing to Chirac a couple of weeks later. I have no particular horse in this race, and have no been following it quite as closely this time around. Royal's campaigns against violence on television, combined with her foreign policy weirdness, combine with the fact that I am not on the "far left" anymore to make the socialist party no longer a reflexive choice. At the same time, Bayrou seems to be a triangulating, anti-left wing politician of the sort I regularly attack within the Democratic Party. I mean, check out this quote from Bayrou in the New York Times:
"I am a democrat, I am a Clintonian, I am a man of the 'third way.'"
So, let's just say that I am not exactly sold on either Bayrou or Royal. I would prefer if the second round were Bayrou vs. Royal, but polling does not make that outcome seem like a reasonable possibility. I'll probably just end up rooting for whichever one of those two makes it to the second round against Sarkozy. Of course, if Le Pen sneaks into the second round again, ala 2002, then obviously I will pull for Sarkozy.

Anyway, this is an open thread on the French elections. I'll post exit polls and results when they are available.

Update: Via commenter island empire, current, but incomplete, exit polls from Ipsos show Sarkozy and Royal headed to a run-off:

Sarkozy: 29.4%
Royal: 26.2%
Bayrou: 18.6%
Le Pen: 10.8%

No real surprise. It certainly looks like Royal vs. Sarkozy in the second round. Current polls on that matchup show the race anywhere from a dead-heat to Sarkozy ahead by 7. Funny how Bayrou, who polled very well in the second round (comfortably ahead of everyone), doesn't have enough hard-core supporters to even make the second round. Ah, the shortcoming of neo-liberal politicians everywhere: comfortable, compromise choices that no one really likes. Also, the 86% turnout is stunning--higher than any other large democracy.

Update 2: Final exit polls:

Sarkozy: 30.0%
Royal: 25.2%
Bayrou: 18.3%
Le Pen: 11.5%
Eight others: 14.0%

So, unless something truly shocking happens, it will be Sarkozy vs. Royal in the second round. Sarkozy will start as the slight favorite.

Final update: More great info from commenter island empire. Based on all four major exit polls, the French media seems to have all but declared it Sarkozy vs. Royal in the second round (see Le Monde, Le Figaro, and Liberation). The big story seems to be the huge turnout.

As a side note, I am surprised at how easily I find it to read articles about polls and election results in French. I have never taken a single French class in my life, but I think there might be something bordering on a universal political horserace language. I mean, I actually understand these articles (or, at least, I think I understand them).

Tags: Foreign Elections, France, polls (all tags)

Comments

38 Comments

Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

i've been waiting for this forever.

two big notes.

1) RECORD TURNOUT!  it's already past 75% and it's widely expected to fall between 84-87%!  amazing! for those who read french, check out libe's notebook: http://www.liberation.fr/actualite/polit iques/elections2007/249151.FR.php

2) EXIT POLLS AND EARLY RETURNS ARE ALREADY AVAILABLE!  http://letemps.ch/
It's been moving around quite a bit, but sego's been stable around 25%.  le pen, strangely has fluctuated between 11-19%, sarko between 25-30% and bayrou between 13-19%.  so clearly these are just to get a sense of how things are falling minute by minute in advance of the first official results (to be released at 2pm eastern).

by island empire 2007-04-22 09:01AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

Royal's online campaign is something to admire, that's for sure.

by Jerome Armstrong 2007-04-22 12:50PM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

i think its interesting that you discount sarkozy right off the bat..

i think when you listen to sarkozy speak, rather than read the AP stories where he is practically presented as an extremist who set the paris suburbs on fire, what he says really makes a lot of sense and he seems far more intelligent and capable than royal....he has ideas..

on a recent trip i got to see sarkozy fielding questions from panelists and he is really trying to articulate ideas to get france moving forward...

from what i spoke with french people segolene is viewed as someone "..who promises people whatever they want to hear.." even though its not realistic to expect she will be able to deliver..someone with very little intelligence...

i think its a mistake to analyze the french election in terms of sarkozy is like a republican and royal like a democrat.... some of the things sarkozy is saying like that there is a need to lower taxes in france are true.. many many people with money are moving out to england or switzerland and this is not good for france...also when sarkozy speaks of a need to work more i think thats true for france...

anyways, i wouldn't post this but i saw sarkozy speak a few times (through french television) and i was really impressed with him....i wondered to myself "man if only bush was 1/20th as intellligent as this guy"..

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 09:03AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

  If he's so intelligent then why is he afraid to enter immigrant-heavy areas of France?  Le Pen can enter these areas, but Sarkozy would get rocks thrown at him.

by cilerder86 2007-04-22 09:10AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

man everything is so agressive around here...what a turn off..

i think he's intelligent not to enter those areas if he were to get rocks thrown at him, don't you? :)

the issue of immigration and french nationality is a very complex issue that i don't think i am in a particularly good position to understand..i am not french. but just because a candidate is unpopular with immigrants does not mean he does not have good ideas or is intelligent.. it just means immigrants don't like him!

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

that should of course have read "is not intelligent"

ok ciao

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

Sarkozy is a bigoted bastard, who's responsible for igniting the riots that consumed Paris's poor suburbs in 2005. I can't remember the quote, but he said something incredibly offensive about throwing the children of the suburbs into prison.  Racist to the core, which is truly ironic, because his family isn't even French.  

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-22 09:33AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

wow it almost seems to me you think sarkozy is responsible for the riots and not the rioters!

this is just too much...

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 10:35AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

You beat a dog down, don't be suprised when it bites you back.  

I really don't understand why you think that this is the type of site where people are going to appreciate the neo-liberal and neo-con bullshit you peddle in your comments.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-22 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

and i don't know why you think everyone should think the same as you!

i gotta run..but i think you ought to reexamine how you treat people who disagree with you.. or you'll end up talking to your shadow

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 10:43AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread
   I ask a genuine question, and you think it's aggressive?  You don't think it's big problem that Sarkozy would get rocks thrown at him if he ventured into immigrant-heavy areas?  Don't you think that goes a little beyond "unpopular?"  
   I'm not really a big fan of any of the three big candidates.  The only European leader I like these days is the prime minister of Spain, Zapatero.  
by cilerder86 2007-04-22 09:40AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

i don't pretend to understand the immigrant issue in france...

i do know a lot of french people with families with long lineage in france are not happy with the immigration or the way its being handled...

not sure if that makes them racists or not...

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 10:36AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread
  I don't remember calling them racist.  But you're avoiding my question anyway.  
  Frankly I think whoever is the winner of this election becomes the long-term loser.  I think that neither Royal nor Sarkozy will be very succesful should he/she win.
   I will say this about Sarkozy: he's a xenophobe.  He's called immigrants "scum."  In a position very strange for a French right-wing free-marketer, Sarkozy DOESN'T support the entrance of Turkey into the EU. Royal does - a strange position for a French left-winger.
by cilerder86 2007-04-22 01:33PM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

It makes them daft. The immigrants are already there. Half of them aren't even immigrants, they're 3rd generation Frenchmen and women. They're not going to go away and their situation is far from ideal (marginalised, impoverished, largely unemployed due to a mixture of economic restrictions and widespread racism - 30% of the French admitted to being racist in a recent poll) so something needs to be done. Complaining does nothing, it just increases the disconnect between the banlieues and the rest of the country.

by Englishlefty 2007-04-23 03:04AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

The proper analysis is that Sarko is a neocon who shares with many Republicans a desire to use immigrants as a wedge for force free market policies down voters' throats.

Sarkozy is not someone any of us ought to be supporting.

by eugene 2007-04-22 09:15AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

again based on what i spoke with french people, i do not think that is a proper analysis.. in fact i don't think thats an analysis at all..thats a blanket unsupported statement.

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

i also think its clear that france needs free market policies..more of them.... or what do you think?

france is an overegulated economy.

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

I don't think that's clear at all. Someone below linked to an excellent diary at dKos by Jerome a Paris, who has written countless articles over the last year or two debunking this claim.

I thoroughly reject the idea, here and in France, that more free market policies are needed. We need that like we need a hole in the head.

by eugene 2007-04-22 09:24AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

The problem with France isn't that they need to adopt let the market loose, it's that social institutions that allow Germany to place the creation of its social state in the societal sector are very weak in France.  So the state has colonized society, in much the same way that in the US the market has colonized society.  The German system of social partnership is by far preferable to both, because it handles social concerns through democratic non-state insitutions.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-22 09:37AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

from the anecdotal (my years living, studying and working in paris) and semi-professional (from my ongoing graduate studies) experience, i have to concur completely.  it's shocking - even when mitterand tried to employ german co-ordinative techniques (for instance, in creating apprentiship programs), he was foiled by bureaucrats, statist corporatism, and, to a certain extent, by his own negotiators who acted less as co-ordinators (as in the german context) than as directors.

the statist model in france IS the problem, and every one knows it.  sarkozy, royal and bayrou are all touching on this, and they are all proposing actions to modify the state-society balance.  however, whereas sarkozy is oriented toward market and neo-gaullist presidentialist solutions (introducting more authoritarian rules for criminals, students, borrowers, etc.), and bayrou is largely a man of the status-quo, royal has proposed a radical program of widespread decentralisation and participatory initiatives that seem to me to be the most interesting and promising way forward.

by island empire 2007-04-22 09:49AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

Most of the research I've been doing has been on the German system, but it seems to me that France suffers from a lack of democratic social institutions.  In many ways the elitism of the ecoles in producing state functionaries is the mirror image of the MBA complex in the United States.  Although there are mandated works councils, the concept of economic democracy never took off there.  Whereas in Germany, politics as class struggle is channeled through consensus based instiutions, in France it seems the naked warfare is the preferred mode.

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-22 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

well, i think it's more that the different parties have different clients.  the rpr/ump really is the party of french industry, and the socialists really are the party of the bureaucracy, and they more to build coalitions from these points of departure.  in germany, the co-ordinative role of the government managing labour-patronat relations isn't what makes it particularly interesting.  it's actually that they CAN do it - the bureaucrats in paris, the business elites in paris, the union elites in paris, they largely prefer the statist model.  it's what's got them there in the first place.

the key points, however, as you note, are that the model is not very democratic, and it does stifle political/social/economic innovation and renovation.

by island empire 2007-04-22 10:21AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

The proper analysis of the French elections.

Jerome a Paris and the French contingent over at European Tribune have ongoing coverage.

Afew wrote a really good rundown of candidate platforms recently.  Sarkozy is both a neo-con, and worse a neo-liberal. I've put up the top four below.

Ségolène Royal (PS)

Europe: pro-EU; referendum, oui; constitution, rewrite followed by new referendum
social: negotiated reform without social regression; maintain social protection, increase minimum wage; participative democracy; no sweeping tax changes

economy: social democrat; ecology

François Bayrou (UDF)

Europe: pro-EU, (federalist), referendum yes. Constitution: negotiate a new treaty including institutional changes embodied in the first, submit to new referendum.
social: maintain social safety net; maintain taxation level; weaken 35-hour week; allow new payroll-tax-free jobs, two per business; pay unemployed to work on community-useful jobs.

economy: liberal

Nicolas Sarkozy de Nagy-Bocsa (UMP)

Europe: pro-EU as single market (but is not against political intervention eg ECB); referendum oui; constitution, wants a mini-treaty Merkel-style, ratified by parliament.
social: restrain immigration, law'n'order, weaken 35-hour week and labour-market guarantees, weaken social safety net, replace only one out of two retiring civil servants, reduce taxes (50% tax ceiling), "create a new generation of family capitalists"

economy: liberal (but dirigiste when it suits him)

Jean-Marie Le Pen (Front national)

Europe: sovereignist Europhobe; referendum non; constitution burn it
social: foreigners out, social net for French only, suppress income tax, reduce company and wealth tax, increase VAT, privatize retirement pensions, double defence budget, women stay home have children

economy: ultra-liberal, protectionist

by ManfromMiddletown 2007-04-22 09:26AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

he came across very well in his television spots too.  very lucid, especially compared with segolene, who more or less presented platitudes.

the problem with sarkozy is that he's not all that french in attitude- his politics are austere, stern, solidly on the anglo-saxon right.  he's intelligent, but that makes him more dangerous.

by island empire 2007-04-22 09:18AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

combine with the fact that I am not on the "far left" anymore to make the socialist party no longer a reflexive choice.

Huh? Since when is the PS considered "far left"? I'm sure folks like Oliver Besancenot would chuckle at that description.

I still DO consider myself far left, but am hoping Royal wins the runoff.

by eugene 2007-04-22 09:13AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

either way i am guaranteeing sarkozy will win the election. get used to him.

segolene has no chance.

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 09:19AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

must read analysis from jerome a paris - "Why the French election matters to all progressives"

by selise 2007-04-22 09:20AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

Bayrou is the Democrat. He is a capitalist with sanity. He is more popular than the other candidate in the poverty stricken areas which hate Sarkozy. They hate him for a reason, he represents the maintream French racist who wants things thinly veiled. Le Pen, is Le Pen, he has no qualms about putting forth a fascist platform in everything, but name. Royal won't do anything for the poor in France, she will protect the upper-middle class state functionaries and can't help the French economy because she doesn't want to reform it. She has said that she would not allow Iran to gain nuclear power, apparently she doesn't understand how the ABM treaties work. Bayrou is it. He is the Democrat.

by Progressive American Patriot 2007-04-22 09:41AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

"mainstream french racist"

i guess there are a lot of racists in france then!

cause he's getting 30% of the vote... and when this election is over, barring any unforeseen events, sarkozy will have a majority

i spoke with french people who support sarkozy.. they did not strike me as racists.. far from it, one man was an incredibly intelligent kind man who has travelled all over the world (like 100 countries or so).... he has had bolivian , madagascaran etc girlfriends...

he felt sarkozy had ideas and knew what to do to move france forward whereas segolene did not have a clue..

but if he's a racist

really the things you read around here are just too much.

by serge in dc 2007-04-22 10:11AM | 0 recs
%30 percent of French self identify as racist

I lived in France for about a year. I met plenty of people who were nice to me and who will vote for Sarko. That Doesn't mean they're not racist. 30 percent of the French actually come out and say that they are racist. http://tempsreel.nouvelobs.com/actualite s/societe/20070320.OBS8090/30_des_franca isse_declarent_racistes.html
Mainstream France does not like people whose families come from Maghreb. They really don't like immigrants from there. When Sarko called the Parisian rioters "racaille" he was attacked for calling the rioters what the rest of French
society calls all Muslims: vermin or scum. This is true on the left and the right.

Sarko models himself after Bush! How can you think this is the democratic candidate?

Royal on the other hand is somewhat incompetent as far as I can tell. However, this is not why she will lose. She will lose because enough male Socialist voters are sexist, and would rather vote for Sarko than a woman.

by Progressive American Patriot 2007-04-22 11:03AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

Royal is not a candidate the far left will get any support from. They have a number of Communist/Trotskyist candidates who tend to get around 10% of the vote (although the French Communists are a shadow of what they were in the 1960s and the debacle with Jospin last time is likely to hurt the extreme left's numbers this time). The French socialists are solidly social democratic and Royal is definitely not on the left wing of the party. Her campaign is Blairite in the extreme, which is why I (someone who would if pushed probably describe himself as a socialist) have grave reservations about her.

Bayrou, on the other hand, just seems to be a sane and Gallic version of Perot - relying on general distrust of politicians to try to present himself as a new alternative.

As for Sarkozy, the fact that he's shown no remorse for his almighty cockup which caused the riots and that he's content to essentially campaign against the banlieues means I can't support him. French culture has to become much more accepting of immigrants and their descendants (and also to create many more jobs for them), not just term them 'scum'.

If I were French, I think I'd vote for Royal, but I don't think it's a great choice. It's worth remembering that Blair largely came to power because the Tories were slightly less popular than most venereal diseases by 1997, not because his policies were universally popular. Whilst his position remained strong until around 2001 when the government actually did something (particularly on primary school education), the decline in popularity since then isn't just down to Iraq - the non-stop PFI disasters and obsession with restructuring instead of substantive change have certainly reinforced the meme that government never does anything useful.

by Englishlefty 2007-04-22 09:45AM | 0 recs
What might it take

to get a Primary Runoff in the Philadelphia elections? Would we have to change state law or just city?

by andgarden 2007-04-22 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

FYI: In Texas we only have runoffs in primaries and special elections -- such as last year's special elections when the courts ordered new congressional districts after the primaries. Otherwise, the general election is won by plurality.

by jcullen 2007-04-22 09:54AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

it's 8pm.  polls have been closed in most parts of france for between 1-2 hours (with paris, marseilles and lyon open until 8).  results will be released very shortly (i'm talking minutes).

and why not get them straight from the horse's mouth?

official results from the french interior ministry website:

http://www.interieur.gouv.fr/sections/a_ votre_service/resultats-elections/PR2007 /FE.html

there are also unofficial results already at the three major french dailies:

http://www.lefigaro.fr/
http://www.liberation.fr/
http://www.lemonde.fr/web/article/0,1-0@ 2-823448,36-899829@51-898554,0.html

by island empire 2007-04-22 10:07AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

ps. comprehensive exit poll results can be found here (by far the best site online for the election):

http://www.election-politique.com/

by island empire 2007-04-22 10:10AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

"As a side note, I am surprised at how easily I find it to read articles about polls and election results in French. I have never taken a single French class in my life, but I think there might be something bordering on a universal political horserace language. I mean, I actually understand these articles (or, at least, I think I understand them)."

I've been tracking this race for a while and I've been thinking the same thing.  I didn't realize how similar our languages were, at least in terms of how they are written, until I started looking at polls.  

by KDJ 2007-04-22 11:26AM | 0 recs
Re: French Elections, First Round Thread

I do think France could gain from economic reforms - the inability to increase youth employment has been a major problem - but Sarkozy's foreign policy, among other policies, seems troubling.  He's taken an apologetic tone for France's opposition to the Iraq war when meeting Bush, but then, to indicate his independence from the US, has opposed the bid of Turkey (a democratic model among Muslim states) to join the EU, despite Turkey's reform efforts (such as abolishing the death penalty).  I realize foreign policy may not be Royal's area of expertise, but I hope France won't be getting a Bush bis in voting for Sarkozy.

by Mr DC 2007-04-22 03:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Chris, you got Texas wrong

It's a quibble, but you are thinking of
the recent election where the open field
in November was narrowed to the two
highest vote getters in a December runoff.
But that is not the law in texas. It was
a one-time only special election ordered
by the District Court after the Supremes
found in June/July that one gerrymandered
district violated the Voting Rights Act.

The lower court saw that not enough time
remained before the November election
to allow for primaries and a real campaign,
the Judge ordered a Louisiana-style election
only in the districts where the lines had been
redrawn to correct the violation.

In the other districts the incumbents won
well over 50% in the redrawn districts. Only
in the one district did several Democratic
candidates split the vote and keep Bonilla,
the R incumbent, below 50%, thereby
triggering the special runoff won by Ciro
Rodriguez.

by Woody 2007-04-22 05:20PM | 0 recs

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