Today is April 15, 2022. And we are 9 days away from the second round of the French Presidential elections.
Since Sunday’s first round, many polls have flourished. The question that has attracted the most interest since then has to do with the potential behavior of Mélenchon’s voters. The Left Wing candidate attracted a substantial 22% on Sunday and everyone is now wondering how these voters will cast their vote on April 24. As soon as the first polls were released right after the first round on Sunday, all analysts and observers were perplexed to notice that 30% of these Mélenchon voters were even considering casting their votes in favor of Le Pen. We already gave you some elements to try to understand that behavior.
Yet, a few days later, it appears that the voting intentions are indeed shifting and appear to be very volatile and unpredictable. Over the last 24 to 48 hours, some polls show that there are now only 18% of Mélenchon’s voters ready to vote in favor of Le Pen while others polls conducted more or less during the same period reveal on the contrary that there are 46% of these voters ready to vote for Le Pen. That’s a very wide margin which continues to show how unpredictable this second round remains.
Mélenchon voters remain indeed a highly prized segment of the electorate since the results of Sunday. Regardless of who wins on April 24, these voters will continue to attract all the attention.
Yet, let’s take a bird’s eye view here of the situation. Some of you have pointed out Ray Dalio’s analysis. Indeed, in his book “The Changing World Order”, which I really recommend and advise you to study carefully, Ray Dalio highlights how the end of large cycles, especially debt accumulation, always end up with what Dalio refers to as populist movements.
We have seen it with Brexit in the UK a few years ago, and then in the US. Now, France is displaying a profound political dislocation as well. Let’s take another look at these numbers from the first round and let’s have a bird’s eye view since the beginning of the 2000’s.
Sunday’s results reveal a trend and a dislocation that was at work already for quite a while.
- First, traditional parties of the Left and the Right have been wiped out
- Second, new political movements are emerging, which Dalio would label as populist, and which I see as “anti system”.
- Third, this “antisystem” segment represents now close to ⅔ of the electoral movement and is putting Europe as a whole at risk of a deeper dislocation.
Let’s look at what has happened since 2007.
In 2007, the far right movement Rassemblement National was known as the Front National. It was perceived as a lot more hardline than today and was headed by Marine Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. Because of that perception of a hardline position, Jean-Marie Le Pen barely gathered 10.44% in the first round. In 2007, the second round took place as usual between left wing and right wing candidates, Ségolène Royal and Nicolas Sarkozy. They were both from the traditional parties of the left and right. All political observers thought that the nightmare of 2002 was behind us. Jean-Marie Le Pen then had reached the second round and lost against Jacques Chirac who then had won with an 82/18 margin against Le Pen. Jean -Marie Le Pen’s failure to secure the second round in 2007 led every political analyst to conclude that the far right was not a threat anymore. Yet the results achieved in the first round by the Front National / Rassemblement National continued to strengthen under Marine Le Pen’s helm. For the first round results alone, the numbers rebounded in 2012 to 17.9%, then continued to progress to 21.3% in 2017 and now 23.15% in 2022.
2007 10.44% (JEAN MARIE LE PEN)
Now, let’s take a look at La France Insoumise from the Left Wing. In 2007, Jean-Luc Mélenchon was not a candidate. His first run was in 2012 and he managed to reach 11.1% starting from scratch. In 2017, he jumped to 19.59%, almost making it to the second round. And now, in 2022, he appears to be a very large political force to acknowledge, with a 21.95% share, missing the second round by a sliver.
Now, let’s add up the two political forces that Dalio calls populists, and which we could also call “antisystem”. In 2007, you had a combined share of 10.44%, followed by 29% in 2012, 40.89% in 2017 and 45.1% in 2022.
RN + LFI
Meanwhile, take a look at the evolution of the two traditional left and right parties during the same period at each first round of each presidential election;
The socialist party literally melted from 25.87% in 2007 to 1.75% in 2022.
2007 31.18% (UMP – RPR)
Les Républicains (formerly known as UMP or RPR) took a similar dive into the abyss from 31.18% in 2007 to 4.75% in 2022. Having done that, now let’s add up these two traditional political forces and let’s take a look at how they have evolved since 2007 altogether.
LES REPUBLICAINS (UMP) + PS
Of course, the dived spectacularly from close to 57.05% in 2007 to 6.5% in 2022.
57%, does that ring the bell ?
That’s the number I told you about yesterday, the 57% segment of voters who chose a candidate with euroskeptic tendencies on Sunday, during that first round.
Indeed, the two traditional parties who happen to be at the heart of the European Union construction in the last 3 decades, dived precisely from that point of 57% which you could have said was the level of approval at that time for the European Union project. It is almost as if that first round of the presidential election was also hiding another choice, a choice in favor or against the European Union as it stands.
That’s what I wanted to share with you today.
Let me know if you have questions and I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Feel free to comment.