Very interesting outcome. Based on the above projections Sarkozy & Royal together captured 55% of the vote.
Yep. Thats one of the main elements in the outcome, especially compared to the super-fractured outcome of the first round in 2002: a return to the main parties, a re-coalescence so to say. That 55% for the top two compares with 37% last time round, and just 44% even in 1995.
For his part, Sarkozy got a higher percentage than any past conservative candidate got in the first round since Giscard d'Estaing in 1974. But at the same time, Royal did better than the Socialist Party candidates have done since Mitterand in 1988.
That both did so well is especially impressive considering there was a surprisingly powerful third party challenge, with Bayrou's ascendance in the campaign still the other main story of these elections. Together, the three of them mobilised three-quarters of the vote. That is a real cultural rupture in France, where the top three pooled only 53% in 2002 and 63% in 1995.
The rupture is in turn underlined by the voter turnout - more people registered to vote, and significantly more registered voters actually turned out to vote.
In Le Monde
, Arnaud Leparmentier today noted that by casting their votes like this, the voters "rid the first [presidential] elections round of its role as [..] a makeshift substitute for the proportional system that the parliamentary elections fail to offer". The past decade or two, voters have used the first round of the presidentials to cast a quasi parliamentary type vote to show which party they really liked best - a luxury not offered in the district run-offs of the actual parliamentary elections. The shock of Le Pen making it through to the second round in 2002 has taken away this luxury from them - so for the first time in some two decades, one could say, they really already voted for president
in the first round.
The remaining 45% went to Bayrou (18%); Le Pen (11.5%); and everyone else (15%). It seems reasonable to assume that, in a Sarkozy -- Royal second round, Sarkozy will capture most of the Le Pen vote and Royal a large share of the "everyone else vote" (Perhaps that includes you, Francis). If so, the election may be determined by the second choice of the Bayrou voters. I don't have any useful intuition on this point, however, I continue to believe Sarkozy will win.
For some reason I had pegged Francis as Bayrou voter myself, but what do I know
But yes, the conclusion is pretty obvious. It doesnt look good (for people of my convictions). Not just because the choice is so lame - but because the one who is clearly the worse of the two is pretty much set to win.
This article has interesting data on what the voters of the respective other candidates say they'll vote in the second round: Une majorité de bayrouistes voteraient, au second tour, pour Nicolas Sarkozy
The headline has the main story here, though the majority is small: 54% of Bayrou voters say they'll vote Sarkozy; 46% say they'll vote for Royal. But the other details are interesting too.
No surprise is that most Le Pen voters say they'll vote for Sarkozy. Still, one in six says they'll vote for Segolene - more than I'd have thought. (Perhaps because Sarkozy, though an assertive courter of the nationalist and law and order sensitivities of the "Lepenistes", also embraces globalisation and free competition, whereas Le Pen's rhetorics, when it comes to "protecting the common man", has some almost far-left undertones.)
Also no surprise: 95% of the few remaining communist voters and 90% of the supporters of antiglobalist farmer-activist Jose Bove say they'll vote for "Sego". This mirrors the unanimous preference of the voters of small candidates on the right like nationalist De Villiers and rural/pro-hunting Nihous for "Sarko".
But like Le Pen's voters, those who supported the Green candidate or one of the three "extreme left" (read: Trotskyite) candidates - btw, France must be the only country where the definition of "extreme left" is those who are to the left
of the communists and greens
- are less predictable than you might think. One in six Besancenot voters and almost one in four voters of the Green Dominique Voynet and the long-running "Worker's Struggle" candidate Arlette Laguiller say they'll vote for Sarkozy.
The samples here must of course be very small, considering that Laguiller dropped from her all-time high of 5,7% last time round to a miserable 1,3% now, but still make one wonder - or free associate, rather..:
An article noted today that Segolene Royal got as high a first round result as Mitterand did back in the day of the 1981 elections that brought the Left to power - "but times have changed", because the back-up reservoir to the left of the Socialists has emptied. In 1981, old-timer and hard-liner Georges Marchais still brought in over 15% of the vote for the Communists. Despite attempts to renew themselves (or the lack of them), the Communists dropped to 7% in 1988, when Mitterand ruled supreme. They benefited only slightly from the subsequent implosion of the Socialists when they got 9% in 1995. Then came the disastrous result of 2002, when Communist Party candidate Robert Hue had to see two Trotskyites do better than him, getting just 3,4% - which was followed by yet another round of "pragmatisation" and the controversial imposition of reformist candidate Marie-George Buffet, only to see the share of the vote drop to a moribund 1,9% - less than half that of the Trot mailman, Olivier Besancenot. Even in the Communist bulwark of Seine Saint-Denis, which makes up one third of the Paris suburbs, and where the Communist Party still has a majority of seats in the local council, she got just 4,3% - and less than Besancenot.
This time round, all the left-of-the-left candidates together got just 10%; compared to one-quarter of the vote in 1981. Where have the others gone? Where have the communists gone?
When you look at the map of 2002, you cant help noticing that many of Le Pen's main bulwarks were in the working-class regions of France that once were Communist domains. By ways of anecdotal evidence, there was the "Front National" episode of the fascinating series in Le Monde that, every few days, interviewed regular voters of the different candidates - just people found at one of the many mass meetings held in the election campaign, which in themselves were a striking, "reborn" feature of these elections. A proud and angry young man explained how he was from a Communist family, himself - but how he had become a devoted Front National supporter, and had now convinced his parents to vote FN too.
They must not have been the only ones - and some of them will, in turn, now have moved to Sarkozy. For the first time in many years, I think one French newspaper article said, the right outdid the left in the working-class northern department Pas-de-Calais, with Sarkozy himself narrowly beating out Royal too. (Mind you, in Seine Saint-Denis Royal beat Sarkozy 42:20.)
Anyway - that much on that digression. Back to the impending second round. If we calculate the numbers given in the article about what third-party voters say they'll vote, we see that Sarkozy would get 55% exactly in the second round, and Royal 45%. All the dissenters from the left who say they'll divert to Sarkozy together make up just 1,7%, so there's not much to win there. The only solution for Segolene is to somehow persuade three-quarters of Bayrou voters. Unlikely.