by Jerome a Paris
Sun Apr 22nd, 2012 at 04:10:45 AM EST
Today's the big day. After a long campaign (started a year ago with the socialist primaries) with no obvious focus, we'll finally have the vote and the results.
A dominant trend has been a general lack of enthusiasm of the population. Part of that is due to the rejection of Sarkozy, and Hollande's very prudent campaign, but a lot has also to do with the general perception that TINA will prevail and that the election doesn't matter. The more heartening trend, if confirmed today, has been the dynamic surrounding Jean-Luc Mélenchon - providing an alternative narrative which is not the hateful scapegoat-pointing of Le Pen, but a real programme of the left.
So amongst the results to look for, today:
- obviously, the first question is who the top two contenders will be. While polls show that Hollande and Sarkozy are significantly above the others, a surprise cannot be completely excluded (i.e. Le Pen coming before Sarkozy). And if it's indeed the top 2, who comes first matters to some extent - Sarkozy is certain to lose if he's not ahead of Hollande - and will face an uphill battle in any case;
- the next question is who comes third - 3 candidates could conceivably claim that position: Le Pen, Mélenchon and Bayrou. Polls favor Le Pen slightly, but votes for Le Pen and Mélenchon are the hardest to predict as, among another things, they attract more first-time voters). Bayrou seems distanced but as the centrist (i.e. center-right) candidate he will be seen as kingmaker;
- last big question, and possibly the one driving all the others is what the participation rate will be. How many people won't bother to vote, if TINA anyway? And what will be the impact on the various scores? (Low participation would favor Sarkozy as old people vote more reliably and they vote more for him).
I voted this morning and will be helping with the counting at 8pm tonight. Use this thread to post news and discuss results.