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It is precisely the high numbers of undecided who could yet prove the polls wrong. Are there any indications how they lean? Will they vote in large numbers or at all?  Are they ex-PS/LR voters dissatisfied with their parties or candidates who will eventually hold their noses and vote for their traditional parties/candidates anyway?

Are there any indications if there will be a high or a low turnout?  I suspect a low turnout would help Le Pen and perhaps Melenchon most, and those with a better party organisation. Is the general mood for change or the status quo?  Is there a big urban/rural divide? Is Immigration as big an issue as elsewhere? How will the terrorist atrocities influence the vote?  Who is posing as the law and order candidate?

How much anti-EU/Euro sentiment is there? Is Brexit an issue, and if so, how would that effect the vote? I would expect a Pro-EU candidate like Macron to have made Brexit an issue, blame all the ills of the EU on the English and promise reform once they are gone. How credible would this be as a political strategy?

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Apr 11th, 2017 at 07:14:20 PM EST
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All interesting questions for sure, but some are quite hard to answer:

  • No, there's no indication as to how undecided voters will lean to in the end, and they might end up not voting at all.

  • Dissatisfied ex-PS/LR voters have plenty of options: PS voters can go for Mélenchon or Macron, LR voters can vote for Le Pen or, yes, Macron (remember that Bayrou and the traditional "Christian Democrats" types are supporting Macron, Fillon being too extreme for them).

  • Turnout is not expected to be particularly high and, all in all, it's hard to feel much excitement among most French voters, favoring the status quo types, I suppose.

  • There is indeed a big territorial divide: I've already mentioned the series by demographer Hervé le Bras - only in French, sorry :-) This analysis of the Le Pen vote in 2012 is quite telling 'second map in the article body). The FN vote is concentrated is the North, the North-Eastern regions and the Mediterranean coasts (ironically, the Le Pen family hails from Brittany). More to the point, it is mostly outside the big metropolitan areas; in short, the typical FN area is a small or medium sized town, with poverty and crime rates actually lower than within big cities, but mostly characterized by a lack of future prospects for the local economy.

  • Immigration is not much of an issue and actually much less mentioned than you would have thought. Even Le Pen is focusing on attacking Macron, Hollande and the EU. Terrorism is totally absent from the debate and the Law & Order candidate should be Valls, but he's not running; so then, Fillon (oh, wait...)

  • EU sentiment? Frexit has never polled more than 30-35% at most. This is a plank of Le Pen program, of course and also Mélenchon (under some conditions) and some smaller candidates, but that is about all.

  • As for Brexit, sorry to disappoint: it is completely absent of the debate (this is about France after all, not the UK).
by Bernard on Tue Apr 11th, 2017 at 08:04:27 PM EST
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