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French elections? (Here we go...)

by afew Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 12:28:11 PM EST

Brief news of the French electoral campaign. I wondered the other day if Sarkozy wasn't over-confident and over-protected by what it's an understatement to describe as compliant media, and if there might not be a turning-point in the air.

Well, maybe, maybe not. But things that matter to Sarkozy - TV ratings and opinion polls - have turned on him over the last few days.

On Monday evening, Ségolène Royal was on TF1 being quizzed by a panel of "representative French". Sarko had done the same show a couple of weeks before, and Bayrou had made some quite justified noise about the partiality of the channel (belongs to Sarko's dear buddy Bouygues) and the producer (a former chief advisor to PM Raffarin, great Sarko-supporter). Sarko had also made errors during the show, notably declaring that 50% of French employees were on the minimum wage (in fact 17%), but since it was Sarko no one noticed, he's the man who's right whatever he says. Royal got through it better than that. And she got a higher audience rating, 8.9 million to Sarko's 8.2 million! Sarko said ratings didn't matter, but he was peeved all the same.

The next piece of news requires confirmation by other results, but the first poll out after that show is good for Royal and Bayrou, bad for Sarkozy. I'm lifting this from my comment in the Salon:

Royal repasse devant Sarkozy au 1er tour, selon CSA

Au lendemain de sa prestation sur TF1 suivie par une audience record de 8,91 millions de téléspectateurs, la candidate socialiste enregistre une hausse de deux points, avec 29% d'intentions de vote.

Son adversaire de l'UMP, Nicolas Sarkozy, accuse quant à lui une baisse de cinq points par rapport au précédent sondage CSA des 14-15 février. Il est crédité aujourd'hui de 28%.

Au deuxième tour, le ministre de l'Intérieur l'emporterait par 51%, contre 49% pour la présidente de Poitou-Charentes.

François Bayrou... gagne quatre points au premier tour et recueille 17% des intentions de vote, devant Jean-Marie Le Pen (Front National), crédité de 14% comme lors du précédent sondage CSA.

Ségolène Royal moves ahead of Sarkozy in the first round, according to CSA

The day after her appearance on TF1 followed by a record audience of 8.91 million, tha Socialist candidate picks up two points, with 29%.

Her UMP opponent, Nicolas Sarkozy, drops five points compared to the last CSA poll held February 14-15. He is now credited with 28%.

In the second round, the Interior Minister would win by 51% to 49% for the president of the Poitou-Charentes region.

François Bayrou gains four points in the first round with 17% of voting intentions, ahead of Jean-Marie Le Pen, credited with 14% as in the previous poll.

Again, it bears repeating that this poll needs confirming by others. But it's the first time there's been an apparent halt to the slow slide in Royal's polls. It shows Bayrou attracting more positive attention, though the numbers on the right are subject to caution. As I've said before, Le Pen consistently does better in real votes than in the polls. He claims it's because the polls are rigged, but that's just him making himself out to be a victim. It's more likely that some people vote Le Pen "on the sly" and don't like to admit to it, even to a pollster. The Front National has an electoral base of 16-17%. That may mean in turn that Sarkozy's number is over-evaluated, though there's absolutely no way of knowing. Someone who means to vote Le Pen but doesn't want to own up to it, may give their opinion-poll vote to Sarkozy, or any other candidate, though one might expect it to be more likely a right-of-centre candidate.

Don't make me say what I'm not saying: that Bayrou's progress is taken from Le Pen cheaters! No, in this poll, he seems to be biting into Sarko.

Why these two news items, the TV show and the poll, are welcome is that they make it difficult to keep up the non-stop media narrative that Royal was just a flash in the pan, and now the real campaigning has begun she just can't hack it. Obviously Sarko was the real McCoy and he was going to win. Here he drops below her first-round score. If other polls confirm the tendency, the campaign will kick off afresh.

Not to worry, there's other stuff out there for the media to occupy eyeballs and eardrums with. The Parti Socialiste's spokesman on economic questions, Eric Besson, resigned his post last week after a clash with François Hollande over the way the Royal campaign should present the costing of the candidate's propositions. One week later, he has announced his intention to leave the PS altogether -- but not politics as I have read here and there.

Who is Eric Besson?

Not an "elephant", nor even a well-known public figure. There's a good biographical note on him here in Le Monde for those who read French. I'm using it as the basis of what follows.

Besson may be a typical French political honcho (Sciences Po, ENA) but he's not very typical of the PS. He went into politics late after a business career (Renault management, founding the business mag Challenges, head-hunting, founder of a generational club for 40-somethings, friendship with Jean-Marie Messier (ex-CEO of Vivendi Universal)). He joined the PS (perhaps because he knew and liked François Hollande, his old professor at Sciences Po, small world) in 1993, was elected deputy in 1997, joined the party direction in 2000 -- a rapid rise. He supported Jospin for the Socialist primary but Jospin withdrew.

Why did he resign?

I'm drawing on a long text he wrote (here in Le Monde) and to this morning's interview by Jean-Pierre El-Kabbach on Europe1 (scroll down to 8h 20).

The proximate cause of his first resignation was his row with Hollande, the underlying cause his frustration with

  1. what he saw (perhaps rightly) as "amateurism" in the Royal campaign
  2. the lack of co-ordination between campaign and party
  3. the absence of a proper place for arbitrage of disputes

He says he intended his departure to be discreet and didn't want to cause trouble. It's hard to believe he really thought that was possible. He knew perfectly well that the slightest hitch in the Royal campaign is immediately amplified by the media.

In his explanations for his second resignation, from the party itself, Besson shows fairly deep disagreement with the socialists by and large, and, indeed, with the left in general. There is:

  1. his disagreement with the Royal campaign - "bad steering, bad organisation, is not going off well" he said in the radio interview - and, on political grounds, a lack of overall structure. He obviously disapproves of the "participative democracy" approach. I was there for the "self-management" phase, he says. Others will know the happiness of living through the rational phase.
  2. the split between the Royal campaign and the party, in which he thinks the campaign is too independent from the party. He puts the blame for the under-utilisation of DSK, Jospin, and Fabius on Royal's shoulders.
  3. on a broader view, he doesn't like the way the PS is heading. He clearly considers it too far to the left, while he was probably hoping to see a more soc-dem or perhaps Third Way development (he himself uses neither term, calls himself a "reformist"). He adds:

    • the five-year period of opposition was badly managed, with particular reference to the EU referendum;
    • the PS is isolated with weak allies (PC, Greens)

It seems to me Eric Besson had (and it's been going on for a while) serious differences with the party he joined (perhaps, as I suggest, in hopes of seeing it change). His departure doesn't seem illogical. However, it so happens that it hits the electoral campaign at a key moment, and that Besson really puts the boot in. The media will not stop talking about his critique of the Royal campaign and of the PS for weeks.

This is a media-savvy person. He successfully created a business magazine. He knows exactly what he's doing.

Why is he doing this?

He says it's because Royal campaign aides smeared him, putting rumours about that he was having problems with his wife. Personally, I didn't notice those rumours getting any traction anywhere - I only heard about them when Besson himself denounced them. Anyway, all France will hear about them now, which seems to me to reduce considerably the potency of Besson's alleged motive.

He does not say it was Royal's thoughtless question to a worker or workers in a factory when faced with press questions about Besson's first resignation: "Do you know M Besson? No one knows M Besson," which was, for her, a way of showing, to the press and to the people she was talking to, that it was an internal matter and a storm in a teacup. Besson says he understands that, even if it was "indelicate" of her.

What now?

As I say, they won't let this go. From smears on his family life there really wasn't much talk about, there will be a huge amount of talk now, and it may drown out (there will be those who will do their best to make it happen) news of a Royal rebound.

I don't think people who study at Sciences Po and ENA, run a career in business and in the upper reaches of a political party, are political innocents. I believe Besson's fundamental reasons for disagreement with the Royal campaign and the PS are sincere, but I find his defence of the noise he's making now rather disingenuous. He doth protest too much, methinks.

He's an old acquaintance of Sarkozy, but has also fairly fiercely criticized him, so it would be surprising to see him go over there. With Bayrou, though... I wouldn't be entirely surprised to see him pop up there.

BVA (who I'm not familiar with) also has a new poll out (I got the results from Le Monde's flash thingy):

First round
Sarkozy: 33% (-2%)
Royal: 26% (-3%)
Bayrou: 15% (+1%)
LePen: 10% (+-0%)

Second round
Sarkozy: 52% (-1%)
Royal: 48% (+1%)

Bayrou: 54%
Sarkozy: 46%

Bayrou: 52%
Royal: 48%

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 01:13:09 PM EST
Yes, thanks!

The AFP dispatch in Le Monde says that this poll was "mostly carried out before" the TF1 show on Monday evening, so it can only be compared to the poll above with caution.

It shows, however, a tightening of the second-round gap.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 01:39:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Aah, good point. It's generally a good idea to be cautious when comparing polls from different polling outfits, what with differences in methodology, questioning, sampling, and whatnot.

Nevertheless, if the bleeding has stopped, that's a good thing.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:08:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Second round
Sarkozy: 52% (-1%)
Royal: 48% (+1%)

Bayrou: 54%
Sarkozy: 46%

Bayrou: 52%
Royal: 48%

Interesting: Royal polls 48% regardless and Bayrou beats Sarkozy, presumably because he picks ou the left vote as he is polling in 3rd place for the 1st round.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 04:03:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I get the sense that if (BIG if) Bayrou manages to position himself as the truly centrist candidate and makes it to the second round, he'd be tough to beat. He'd pick up the support of the fallen candidate (Sarko or Ségo) in addition to potentially being able to draw more centrist supporters from the other candidate.

Of course, I was sure Kerry would beat Bush in 2004, so what the hell do I know.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 04:32:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
From the point of view of mandate, might it be better if Bayrou beats Sarkozy with the left's votes than if Bayrou beats Royal with the right's votes?

As has been pointed out, Bayrou is the only clearly pro-EU candidate. Though his party (UDF) is a satellite of the UMP and he is a Christian Democrat, the UDF is not with the European Christian Democrats and the UMP in the EPP-ED parliamentary group, but is instead the promoter of the small "European Democratic Party", which group other small, centre-right, christian democrat parties (such as the Basque Nationalist Party - that the PP did its best to keep out of the EPP) and includes Prodi's Margherita.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 05:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, and thats the paradox -- its also clear that he's gunning for protest votes ("renverser la table") which means those who might be intending or considering voting LePen. I get the sense he's trying a delicate balancing act, trying to run as the bien-pensant centrist and at the same time, trying to run as an outsider/anti-politician. I don't think he can pull it off.

But clearly he's benefitting from both the turn in Royal's rhetoric from center to the left and the general unease on the center-right with Sarkozy. Not clear that he's pulling at all from the margins, though.

I've always thought/ heard that his ceiling is about 9% because too many well-educated, pro-European, centrist voters won't support a Christian Democrat. He seems to have burst through by playing down the CDU heritage and trying to run more like a radical.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 12:55:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've always thought/ heard that his ceiling is about 9% because too many well-educated, pro-European, centrist voters won't support a Christian Democrat.

I'd probably be in that category - in Spain specially a "christian" politician would be suspect of being Opus Dei.

And, in France, I imagine strongly secular voters will shun a Christian Democrat. But if it' Bayrou-Sarkozy in the second round we'd have "better a Christian than racaille".

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 02:21:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing to note is that, to the mass of French electors, "Christian Democrat" doesn't mean a thing. There has been no Christian Democrat party for donkey's years.

Only if you map French politics on to a broader European sphere can you say, for example, Jacques Delors was a Christian Democrat, or François Bayrou is a CD. Whereas Delors was a member of the PS, and Bayrou's entire career has been spent under the Gaulliste wing. Right-left, you choose.

It's perfectly reasonable for Bayrou to want to break free of the left-right divide, and play the "centre" and what endlessly comes up in French politics, (and never works), which is called l'ouverture, (=opening up to the other side) - which he is allowing to fly as a kite with talk of his choosing DSK as PM if elected. And, who knows, in the present state of disillusionment with the political world, he just might pull off an electoral coup.

Then the chickens would come home to roost. One, he'd need a parliamentary majority, when currently his small party relies on the UMP for its 30-or-so seats in the Assembly. Two, governments composed of right and left ministers would have difficulty holding together - in the past, l'ouverture has always meant token jobs for one side of the divide, real power for the other, and in this case Bayrou would certainly not be handing over any real power to the left. (DSK kite notwithstanding - that's just an easy way to look more "open").

I listened to Bayrou earlier this morning on France Inter. Asked clearly if he was saying the UDF was the pivotal centre point of French politics, he replied yes. And seemed in a hurry to move on, that point of view is so plainly hard to argue.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 04:08:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What, then, is the centre point of French Politics? I don't find it so far-fetched that Bayrou might be closer to that centre than Ségo or Sarko. Just because the UDF is small doesn't mean it cannot be in the centre.

Regarding the parliamentary majority, clearly if Bayrou won the presidency the UDF would capture a lot more of the vote in the parliamentary elections. If that, as you imply, would not be enough to win, which of PS (under DSK?) or the UMP (under Sarko?) would be the largest party, and could you have a Government with the President's party as junior partner of the Prime Minister's? Also, would the party of the presidential runner-up do better or worse than the one that didn't make it past the first round?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 04:53:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a whole lot of extremely speculative questions. You'd be a good one for buying into Bayrou's dream.

There doesn't seem to be (imo) an exact centre point of French politics. Why should there be? In saying the UDF (or the group that preceded it) was not that point, (supposing it existed), I wasn't referring to its current size but its clear, 5th-Republic-long positioning on the right as team-mate/rival of the successive Gaullist parties. You don't change that with a few energetic speeches.

The rest of your questions illustrate the kind of difficulty Bayrou would have as president...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 05:12:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What "dream"? This subthread started because of a poll that says Bayrou would win if he made it to the 2nd round. The questions I ask may have speculative answers, but as questions they follow naturally from the poll results we're discussing.

About centre points - let me get quantitative for a minute. Identify the main issues (axes) of the political spectrum. Assume that positions can be approximately ranked linearly on each issue, and find the median voter position for each. That's the political centre. Theis may not be very meaningful if you need a lot of different, very narrow issues in order to have linear axes.

So, in the 2007 French Presidential campaign, what seem to be the two or three key issues (and this could be something like 'can we have a woman president' rather than, say economic left/right, if that's the turn the campaign takes in the voters' view), and where's the centre?

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 06:06:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Bayrou's dream is that the electorate will accept his pretended "non-aligned" posture and allow him to wipe the slate clean. That they may accept some form of the quantitative thinking you lay out, and accord him a position smack dab in the middle. And that this will be sufficient for him to get into Round Two, in which case he is in a strong winning position as the "lesser evil" of the two.

My point is not to deny Sarko is further right than Bayrou, or Royal further left. It is to say Bayrou is right-ist in his leanings, and historically on the right in terms of his personal tradition and political career - including the symbiosis with the Gaullistes in which he and his movement have always lived (until his decision to break off to make this run). That was the meaning of the journalist's question about the centre - are you really trying to tell us you're the centre, and not the right?

Now, the electorate may be sufficiently fooled by his posture to put him in Round Two. But political parties and personnel do not have short memories like the TV-gazing masses. They won't give him a free ride.

The truth, imo? Bayrou at the Elysée would mean he had created a new balance on the right. He would ally with the UMP again, but this time on new terms, with him as boss. I'd rather see him than Sarko in that position, but then again I'd rather see neither.

(Otherwise, I know you can produce a graphic representation of political views and thus define a "centre". I think it may be useful in a time series, to compare changes and trends. Not as anything other than an oversimplification, though, if it is meant as a description of the extremely complex dynamic system we might call history.)

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 09:42:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough, but let me be more explicit. What are the two or three issues that seem to dominate the campaign, and where do the candidates stand on these issues relative to each other in voter perception?

You seem to be implying that there is no centre, and if there is, it's not Bayrou.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 09:53:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If there's a centre, it's an angel on a pinhead, and that's hardly Bayrou ;)

I think your question is really for another diary, and later on, when major issues do in fact become clearer and more clearly discussed. For the moment, it's more a war of position. There are something like sixty days to go...

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 02:19:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There used to be a center party until the end of the fourth republic ; it was called the radicals (it used to be a leftist party, back when the socialists wouldn't get in a bourgeois government in the 19th century). It split into two parts during the fifth republic, one part (the Parti Radical de Gauche) being a small ally of the PS, another (Parti Radical Valoisien) which used to be a part of the UDF, until it allied with the UMP with Borloo (and don't call him center ; he introduced the "easy to fire" CNE and CPE). Both parties are very small.

Bayrou has consistently been to the right of that party. In 1994 he introduced the reform of the Falloux law, allowing the easier financing of private schools by collectivité locales, and got one million strong demonstrations in the streets... And now you find teachers voting for him. Oh well.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 05:24:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm bringing over here the rest of a comment I started in the Salon at the end of this subthread.

After saying Royal was authoritarian and contemptuous, and linking to some anti-Ségo sites that bring up anecdotes about her, oldfrog said:

My point is very simple : Ségolène is not a worthy candidate of the French left. She could be even more to the left, I wouldn't care, if she was sincere. I could disagree with her, but with respect. In the current case I find her dangerous because she'll be the reason why Sarko is elected, if Bayrou doesn't make it.

I began to reply:

Look, we don't agree about the "worthy candidate". I'm not a crazy Ségolènophile, but the things you link to are really pretty unconvincing. As I said earlier, you could get up a file of objections to almost any political figure in this way (I'm not saying the allegations are all untrue, mind: but most of them are petty).

What is true is that the PS didn't have a natural candidate (unlike François Mitterand or Lionel Jospin), perhaps because François Hollande, whatever his qualities, is neither charismatic nor an authoritative figure (I say authoritative, not authoritarian!). So there was a fight in the PS, and there are a good many there who haven't really accepted the 60% vote in SR's favour. (See the third of your links, quotes from PS bigshots who don't like her and would mostly have preferred Jospin or DSK).

Another question that occurs to me...

So the other question is simply about gender. It's not a cop-out (people are mean to Royal because she's a woman..!) but I don't understand why an authoritarian streak is seen as such an intolerable or repulsive thing in a woman, whereas it's rarely the case that male politicians don't have an authoritarian streak. I'm not saying I like the authoritarian-streaky-people. I'm not sure I like Royal. I didn't like Jospin or Mitterand, who both, cough cough, had an authoritarian streak and a contemptuous way of speaking to people. It's just that I note that it's never such a big problem when male politicians exhibit that kind of behaviour.

And I think gender archetypes really have a lot to do with this campaign and the unspoken story the media suggest subliminally.

As to your final point, I never saw any PS elephant as convincing enough to beat Sarkozy. With the possible exception of DSK, if he'd really got on his bike. Jospin left the scene and lost visibility and credibility. He also thus failed to fight for the left and for his own achievements in government, with the result that the right has been able to dislocate and drag them in the mud for five years. And Jospin should come back from retirement and expect to be candidate?

So it's a bit of a heavy load, saying that if Sarko wins, it'll be Royal's fault. If Sarko wins, it'll be because he's an extremely competitive candidate backed by the bosses and a very Sarko-friendly media. Not that I like to see failings in Royal's campaign or in her personal communication. But it's a lot easier to look like you have a good campaign and you're relaxed, when you know the journalists aren't going to ask you any hard qweschuns.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 01:29:07 PM EST
Issues I see:

  1. Besson is correct that the PS has been weak during the last opposition period, but I don't know if Sego is as to blame for that as much as Jospin.

  2. We all here kind of sneakily hoped that Sego could do the impossible: Reunite a shattered left and sweep to power against a well-presented candidate from the right with lots of friends in the media (Sarko.)

I'll still live in hope, but we should realise what a tall order it is. I think blaming Sego too much for structural problems on the left is maybe not productive.

3) Structural problems I see include:

a) the failures of some on the left to engage a constituency who are being excluded economically. Many of them are not as concerned with immigration as Le Pen, but it seems only he is engaging with them about their economic decline.

b) There is still no compact (as evidenced by the Le Pen-Chirac second round) that unites many factions.

4) Bayrou may yet rattle Sarkozy, which would be good for democracy even if it doesn't end up helping Sego. Someone has to get in the way of this media snowball. If they do not, I fear Sarko is going to get in and be given a "media mandate" to deeply change France on a "business" blueprint.

If that's what the people want, then fair enough, but seeing random interviews on UK TV with people who watched "Sego's big performance" and pronounced themselves "unconvinced" and "disappointed" with her, it's not at all clear to me that people understand the deeply corporation centric things Sarko wants to do.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 02:25:15 PM EST
1). There have been weaknesses, also strengths (good showing in local/regional elections. But by and large Besson is right, imo. I don't think Ségo bears any great responsibility for that. A lot has to do with figureheads ducking down and waiting for the next big election. Certainly Jospin with his fake retirement did that, and Martine Aubry skipped out to take over Lille and did not defend her 35 hours reform that has been appallingly taken to the cleaners in public opinion. DSK is another one who sat back too much, imo. These are times when I think the Westminster Shadow Cabinet tradition is good -- make the Opposition stand up and fight. (There is no such arrangement in France).

2). That may yet happen. The divisions that can be felt now are no longer on the oui/non line-up, which at least is progress.

3). Engaging the excluded. No one is really doing that. Le Pen gives some unhappy people illusions (his economic "programme" is so astoundingly liberal they would be very unhappy indeed). The terrible thing to say is that the excluded don't decide elections.

b) I don't quite get the point about a compact. Which factions?

4) I wish Royal and the Socialists would shape up and get a good fight going against the media. It would take both because the party can bring in some weight and experience, and she can still provide a fresh image if she adapts her communication to the changing conditions of the campaign. Meanwhile, Bayrou is having a good whack at media bias (except of course he makes out it's in favour of both major candidates, which is fair enough, it's his game to be the honest little guy squeezed in the middle).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:39:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just forced myself to watch TV TF1 news, I wanted to see how they'd treat Besson's resignation.

Well, they didn't attempt to give it any more weight than what it's worth. They mentioned it "en passant". Maybe it's only good business strategy to not appear as siding too obviously with Sarko, I don't know.

by balbuz on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 02:50:56 PM EST
France 2 didn't give it the big treatment, either. The election was down to third or fourth subject.

But these are complicated issues to cover in the big TV newscasts. It's more of a subject for the press and radio pundits.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:13:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
they didn't attempt to give it any more weight than what it's worth. They mentioned it "en passant".

France 2 didn't give it the big treatment, either. The election was down to third or fourth subject.

A relief to learn.  Funny how relying almost completely on Internet news and blogs can distorts one's perception of public perception at large.

Truth unfolds in time through a communal process.

by marco on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 06:26:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The difference in ratings is interesting. While Ségo's 8.9 million vs Sarko's 8.2 million isn't an enormous difference, it's still rather large (700,000 viewers). I'm not sure what significance, if any, it has, but could it perhaps suggest that people have heard "enough" about Sarkozy as compared to being more curious about Royal's program? I don't how that corresponds to the reporting in French media, though.
Perhaps the easier explanation is that the competing channels showed more interesting programs during Sarkozy's broadcast...

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:17:47 PM EST
Wicked tongues have suggested it was schadenfreude, people wanting to see her explode in flight. Which she didn't.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:42:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll stick my neck out once more and repeat :
  • Royal is a well-masked killer.
  • She'll regain the initiative.
by balbuz on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:48:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I have just checked the TV programmes. Neither Monday evening had any competing big draws on the other main channels.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:57:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The article (with some of the worst text as legend to a front page picture - I suppose a fornt page pic is a strong positive, whatever the text, but still...)

Royal awaits 'bounce' from TV performance

 Analysts said Ms Royal's [show on TF1] was a "good performance" that could mark a turning point for her troubled campaign.

But Ms Royal is still in a precarious position, experts say. If her candidacy keeps losing ground in opinion polls, she could suffer the same fate as Lionel Jospin, the last socialist candidate for the presidency, who finished a humiliating third in 2002 behind a "dark horse" outsider.

This time, however, instead of losing to Jean-Marie Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party, Ms Royal is in danger of finishing behind François Bayrou, the candidate of the centrist UDF party, dubbed "le Béarnais" for his Pyrenees roots, who is gaining ground in the polls.

"Everything is possible for the Bayrou phenomenon. He has positioned himself in the centre ground, which is where many French people are finding themselves," says Stéphane Rozès, director of the CSA polling group and professor at Sciences Po university in Paris.


This week would be crucial for Ms Royal - to find out if her solid performance on Monday night prompts a bounce in the polls, according to Mr Rozès. But she also needed to put an end to the series of gaffes and internal party bickering that have plagued her campaign.


Ms Royal will also present her reshuffled campaign team tomorrow.

Lots of unnamed experts and lots of unfriendly "ifs"

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:49:48 PM EST
Reorganisation de campagne à l'UMP aussi

Funny how this is not seen as a gaffe, or as bickering, especially coming at a time of falling polls, and a resurgent Royal. Mmmmm

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:52:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That would be competent, rational reorganisation.

Not panic in the face of failure.

I don't know who you are, but apparently you don't get it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 04:02:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The complete report from CSA is available online (PDF): http://www.csa-fr.com/dataset/data2007/opi20070220a-intentions-de-vote-a-l-election-presidentielle-d e-2007-vague-16.pdf

Interesting tidbits from the second round polling:

  • Royal polls better with men, whereas Sarkozy polls better with women
  • Royal kicks ass in the 18-29 age group (and wins in the 30-49 age group), whereas Sarkozy dominates the 65+ crowd
  • Royal polls better with educated people, whereas Sarkozy polls better with people with little or no education

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 06:36:19 AM EST
I was really surprises:

  • women at home: 24% Royal 76% Sarkozy (first round 15 vs 53)
  • retired: 35% Royal 65% Sarkozy (first round 21 vs 36)

Royal wins or really close for every single other category.
by Laurent GUERBY on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 07:59:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I dunno, I would imagine many housewives are very conservative or at least have a rather traditionalist view on gender roles. They probably wouldn't vote for a woman president, particularly not one who's not properly married!

That said, the CSA reports that they didn't interview a whole lot of people in certain categories, so it might be hard to tell how representative a number that is.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde

by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 08:37:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The wife at home has also become a privilege of the well off... who tend to vote Sarkozy.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 08:40:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Excellent point. Lower class families can't really afford  having one spouse not working.

"The basis of optimism is sheer terror" - Oscar Wilde
by NordicStorm (m<-at->sturmbaum.net) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 08:42:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since they include "women at home" in the "inactive" category, it really means women with no intention of looking for work - not the unemployed

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 09:04:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This reminds me of the first Socialist government of the  1st Spanish Republic giving women the vote, only to be voted out at the next election.

"It's the statue, man, The Statue."
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 08:50:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These #s are largely unchanged for those sub-groups since last winter. Royal's support has been very weak all along among older, more conservative women. >55 has been a right-wing constituency for the entire 5th Republic, which makes no sense given what the right wants to do to retirement age and pensions.

But the race wont' be won by winning over these groups; it'll be won by winning over better-educated, better-off, younger urban men and women and by increasing turnout among traditional left-voting but lazy (in 02) constituencies among students, teachers, civil servants.

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 09:51:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, given these are the only groups where Sarkozy is winning and overall he is winning, I guess they're important in numbers.

I'd be curious as of the real reason for the massive right-wing vote of those people. Inheritance tax? Paris-Match+TF1 all day?

by Laurent GUERBY on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 11:03:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
These generations are those that came of age in the 50's and early 60's.

They grew up idolising De Gaulle, at a time where the left were evil commies whose tanks were coming from the left, and thus tend to vote to the right.

They are also frightened by crime and violence (that arguably they know mostly thanks to TF1). They also never understood the dislike of "authority" by post-1968 generations.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Feb 22nd, 2007 at 12:14:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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