FRENCH ELECTIONS: Hollande ahead in first poll after Round One

Probably only a major deal with Bayrou could give Sarko victory now

A French poll just released (fieldwork conducted last Sunday night) suggests that Francois Hollande looks likely to beat Nicolas Sarkozy in their head-to-head Round Two election two weeks from now by around 10 percentage points. But that result is, I suspect, misleading.

Many people in the States and the UK may find this Hollande lead strange, given that if one adds Sarkozy’s score of 25.5% at the weekend to most of the Le pen and half the Bayrou supporters, he appears to have a clear 4-point advantage. The problem is that UK newspapers have, on the whole, a shaky grasp of French political nomenclature.

Political correctness, as always, is partly behind this. That 1 in 5 French voters put their crosses next to Marine Le Pen of the Right-Wing Front Nationale is variously described as ‘shameful’ and ‘a blot on French history’. This is because they suffer from Hainitis, and only see the FN as a racist, anti-Muslim Party.

It is indeed anti-Muslim, but so are a great many of the French – on religious, not racial, grounds. And anyway, Le Pen’s support is mainly that of people disgusted with the corruption, inaction and perfidy of the Establishment in Paris. Quite a lot of left wing French people support Le Pen, and so the victory of Francois Hollande in the first round may well attract at least 35% of her supporters to move to the Socialist leader….largely on the basis of his currently anti-EU/Merkel stance.

But for me, the most intriguing element is what might happen to the 9% of votes cast for the Centre candidate Bayrou. In 2008, Francois Bayrou polled twice that: he took many votes off Segolene Royale, because he seemed both tougher and more radical than her. This time, however, the Socialist vote stayed rock-solid behind Hollande.

So one could argue that most of Bayrou’s support this time came from the Centre-Right. Thus, say, around 7% of the Centre candidate’s votes might go to the UMP candidate Sarkozy. Far more certain is that the hard-Left support for Melanchon in Round One (a passable showing at 12%) will either abstain or go to the current President.

This adds up, on the back-of-envelope system, to around 47-48% for Hollande, and 45-46% for Sarkozy – that is, a comfortable win for the Socialists….but close enough to make Francois Bayrou the potential King-maker.

Were Sarko to promise Bayrou a senior role in government – perhaps even the Premiership – the contest suddenly becomes almost impossible to call. But Bayrou is that rare thing, a principled politician: he thinks Sarko is a prancing idiot, and that Hollande’s spending plans don’t make sense. On balance, he is unlikely to want to soil his hands with either candidate – or indeed, with the mess one of them will have to face.

But you never know. Dirty tricks from abroad may yet materialise. The Morgan-Stanley made FOAT market is up and running and ready to bet against a Socialist President; and Angela Merkel has already flatly refused an audience with Francois Hollande.

Perhaps there’ll be a restoration of the Monarchy, with Christine I at the head of a new dynasty.

A brief resume of what The Slog is about

55 thoughts on “FRENCH ELECTIONS: Hollande ahead in first poll after Round One

  1. in regards to Bayrou “he thinks Sarko is a prancing idiot” ( I think most agree with that but he needs to add “part of an Atlantic criminal enterprise to boot”). “and that Hollande’s spending plans don’t make sense” (dont make sense??? well he wants to spend on French Citizens no the Eurocrats from my readings…. whether this materialises only time will tell…

    • Neat-o. It’s almost as though Hollande, a socialist, also has a strong nationalist streak, to boot.
      This should end well.

  2. The winner of the second round will be neither Sarko,nor Hollande,but a candidate who is not even standing for election,called ‘the market’.The French may elect whomsoever they choose, but Merkel and the market will call the shots on what counts,money.There is a nice piece from Stephen King,head of dismal science at HSBC,called ‘From depression to repression’,which sets out the consequences of QE,artificial low interest rates,continued government binge spending,crowding out the private sector,all of which applies equally to France and the UK.How will this all end, I have not a clue,except, after a freezing spring, a long, hot summer should produce a riot or two.

    • @william/”jah”:
      WOW! That is a superb report…and coming from an HSBC senior banker makes it impressive. What the author – Stephen King – doesn’t state overtly (but I’m sure would agree with) is that what he’s describing the governments’ of the UK/EU/US doing is a continuation and huge expansion of what Mises called “Vampire Economics” way, way back. An alternative term is “Fascist Economics”… because that’s what it is: overt and covert control & manipulaton of the financial markets, in this case to provide support for out-of-control government spending at tolerable yield rates…at the expense of prudent savers, corporate/private borrowers.

      As King says, their actions may reduce the pressure on govts to cut spending and consolidate debt but the consequence is mis-allocation of capital, impoverishment of savers and no improvement in growth.

      Highly recommended reading and well written…..

      • I must say I find it concerning that folk, Sloggers too, are happy to accept the message in reports that endorse the position they already have, despite the dubious sources, in this case HSBC, and in other instances, are perfectly happy to dismiss reports which contain information or messages that don’t coincide with what they’re stated position is, even when the source is generally well regarded.

        This is not specifically aimed at you BT.

      • @supafeckinmingster: I understand what you’re saying…we usd to call it ‘cognitive dissonance’ (having a fixed opinion about something which cannot be changed by new facts). Oddly, many older Brits have that mindset about Britain because of its days of empire when we ruled the waves. They cannot now face the reality that Britain is a has-been country.

        However, in this case the HSBC report was not so much a list of numbers and supposed ‘facts’, but the man’s own personal views about what is hapening in the economy based upon his knowledge. I would challenge anyone to find substantive falsehoods in his assessment. Give it a go!!!

  3. Arithmetic, especially in Elections. often produces surprise.

    To my mind it looks as though Sarkozy is now the out and out favorite to win by half a length…

  4. As Sarko`s bloke Cope said on Sunday night, leading into the first round all the talking heads said Le Pen would get 10%, Melanchon 20% or more and turnout would be low …….
    Sarko to win by a short head.

  5. I too think dirty tricks will play the biggest part in this election. There will be a lot of trouble ahead if Sarcozy does not get returned.
    I can see a rigged election here.

    • @kfc: I tend to agree. Although a rigged election may not happen, I do expect to see something engineered to push Sarko into No.1 position. What that might be is anybody’s guess.

      • @BT: Yes, it’s the “engineering” bit they might struggle with, they might have little or no choice. Going to get interesting I think!

      • Don’t be so sure about that before taking a look at this article! Electronic server for the French elections is in ….Colorado!
        Since 2001 the results are processed there and there have already been irregulatiers.

      • Ballot procedures in the polling stations seem quite impressive (by UK standards) but how do the French operate Postal Votes, if at all, and have they been taking lessons from some successful UK operators ? No names, no pack-drill.

        If not, then it’s all down to the e-counting – which always offers the most scope for ‘elasticity’, even without hanging chads.

  6. Thanks for confirming that French politics is incomprehensible to anybody outside of France. The MSM here and in France are throwing around the usual labels of ‘Left’, ‘Right’ and ‘Centre’ when referring to candidates.
    But for me, I can see virtually nothing in any of them which would earn the title of Right. Sarko certainly is not on the Right (despite being a UMP-er) and is little more than a pompous fascist jackboot. I haven’t seen enough of Le Pen’s policies to decide which side she dresses on, so to speak. But I’d bet she is actually on the Left, not the Far Right as MSM report.
    I saw one French interviewee on TV Sunday saying that he’d voted for Le Pen in the 1st round but would vote for Hollande in the 2nd round. Go figure! MSM and political commentators have completely lost sight of what being on the Right actually means. What we have in France and the UK/US are variations of the Left, all bickering over which nail in the coffin to bang in next!

    • Puppets all.
      Left,Right,both have the same hands up their
      arse’s or puling their strings.
      All a mere diversion to keep the serfs divided.
      and occupied.
      Bread and circuses.

  7. Today’s quote from the European Commission … “Governments commit on behalf of states. Therefore commitments are not linked to one government. Governments change but commitments on behalf of states cannot be changed without discussion with European partners.”
    My interpretation of this is that the EC regards elections as an irrelevance. Er .. haven’t we been here before? Something about parachuting in placemen?

    • So according to the insane, or sane European Commission, the government and the state are two entirely separate entities that claim to ‘rule’ the people. I was always of the opinion they are one and the same but one lives and learns!

    • @MaxC: Indeed. The Brussels whacknuts are saying to the French people “vote for who you like, nothing will be allowed to change.”

  8. I fail to see the conspiracy theory behind Morgan Stanley and the FOAT market. If MS want to protect themselves against the perceived risk of a Hollande victory they can simply liquidate their French government bond position. This would not require a futures market and would probably be considerably worse for the French government bond market than hedging by selling futures. In the opinion of the Slog why would hedging by selling futures be “worse” for France than liquidating the underlying bond position?

    • Because you need to have a buyer for the vast sums involved (and the central bank of France/ECB cannot do a BOE and hoover them up in sufficient quantity) if they did start dumping the cascade effect brigns thw hole pack of cards down.

      This way MS can wriggle out of their positions while dumping thier exposure onto retails institutions so that the ‘little guy’ pick up the tab (again) when their pension/savings go up in smoke

      • That was exactly my point. As I said, it would be worse for the French bond market if MS tried to liquidate their cash position rather than selling futures. So how does the Slog conspiracy theory that the FOAT market is somehow an attack on France hold water? As you yourself have pointed out,if MS started to dump their cash position it might bring down the whole pack of cards. The existence of the FOAT market reduces that risk (or would do if there were any liquidity—currently it’s appalling compared to developed bond futures markets like Bunds and US Treasuries.)

  9. When interviewed on TV, some of Melenchon’s young supporters said they would abstain while others said that they would vote for Sarko. Melenchon himself called on them to vote for Hollande, which is rather surprising seeing that Hollande stands for most things that Melenchon hates,euro,EU, & the free market, but of course he hates Sarko more than any of these,which may explain it. Next to him in the list of hates is of course, Marine LePen.

      • @Mo; That’s better! John’s idea of Melenchon’s faithful voting for Sarko is misplaced, but he (M) has the option of giving guidance any day soon.

  10. The hard-core FN voters will not vote in the second round – they haven’t the time of day for and even less interest in anything other than their own candidate. In addition, a lot of people in France don’t vote in the first round, preferring to wait until the second when there is only a chjoice of two and as a result far less clutter.

    I have to side with the French pundits on this – Hollande will win. Merkel then has a serious problem because she has not only snubbed him but given a ‘gypsys warning’ that rrelevanty of who wins, Germany calls the shots. That in itself is enough to sway a few older French voters to stick two fingers up to Le Boche and vote Hollande as opposed to Sarkozy Le Collaborateur

    • You may well be correct but there are other factors which support your predicted outcome, which you hint at in your last paragraph.
      Namely, TPTB have of late become quite vocal in criticizing German intransigence. In their calculations, Hollande elected means Merkel with one less very strong support. Thus presumably, more likelihood of Eurobond schemes and so forth. This may be the real ‘engineering’ behind the scenes, though I admit it may seem very far-fetched qua the ways people have been convinced to approach these things.

      • The Eurobond scheme was always at the heart of the plan (as this would force integration and ensure Germany/The North picked up the tab for the profligate lending/spending in the South) problem is they thought they could still play the war guilt/ population intransigence card but the German people just would not play ball and accept thier fate as the workers of the EU, hence the shenanigans of the past two years.

  11. Estimates for the FN vote are 40 percent Sarko, 30 percent Hollande and 30 percent abstain. Not a huge gain for Sarko. The FN is a huge protest vote a la Galloway. Anti almost everything,EU, globalisation, immigration, Islam. Farage lst night on newsnight said he could not support the FN but if Mme Le pen started a new party taking out the racists elements he could work with them. Let’s hope both so-called left and rightr get big positions in the Assembly elections. Be good to have some fireworks in France. Loved the posters for Melenchon ‘Vite le 6eme republique’. I remember the Fourth.

  12. Anyone here remember the “cricket match” analogy of Ken Clarke’s, where Ken described how each of the two main political parties took it in turns to “bat?

    Notre ami Francois Hollande said last week….”It is now the Left’s turn to govern”.
    This is the contempt us citizens are held in, by these arrogant politicos.
    And people still turn out to vote for these crooks!
    Kennyboy

    • I can’t resist quoting, yet again, a line from a Bonzo Dog Band song – “Whoever you vote for, the government always gets in.”

  13. Quite funny in a way, our politicians in so many different states are such a bunch of useless careerist assholes, that people are forced to vote not so much for the one they like the most, but against the one they hate the most.

    I’m sure elections would get a bigger turn out if you could vote for the one you hated most, this would send a clear message to that particular candidate, not easy to bullshit your way around a vote that shows that say 67% of the population hate your guts.

    I hate Sarko & I hope he loses, no more disgusting merkozy lovey dovey sessions & besides it would also annoy the hell out of Barosa Rompuy Rehn Lagarde etc, which is fine by me. As to the financial crisis I think it is beyond their control, I don’t think it matters whatever they do.

    • Exactly my reasoning and a tiny hope Hollande might help bringing the crash nearer!
      Hate elections would be great, they would have the highest participation!!!!

    • Stevie, it seems that the French also do not like Sarko at this moment in time. This from Spiegal online:

      … the results have made it clear that the French are indeed very interested in this election. And it has shown that they are angry: about politics, about the state of the country — and about the current president, Nicolas Sarkozy. …

      I hope and pray that he loses.

  14. According to this article

    http://zebuzzeo.blogspot.fr/2012/04/depuis-le-crack-bancaire-de-l-ete-2011.html

    France has joined the Club Med as capital hemorrhages to Amsterdam and Germany.
    “Objectivement, l’explication est fumeuse, mais elle nous renseigne utilement sur les paris que les financiers américains font aujourd’hui quant à l’avenir de la monnaie unique, et quant à la capacité de la France à y tenir un rôle. Les marchés ont acquis la conviction que l’euro était en phase terminale et que la France pourrait bien être celle qui lui donnerait le coup de grâce.

    Capital, and soon human: “Déjà, tant de matière grise française émigre vers les pays anglo-saxons pour échapper aux pesanteurs aristocratiques de notre société. Un jeune de talent, qui ne sort pas d’une grande école, n’a aucun intérêt objectif à rester en France.”

      • This is from google translate:
        “Objectively, the explanation is a smoker, but it usefully informs us about the U.S. financial paris are now about the future of the single currency, and about the ability of France to hold a role. Markets have become convinced that the euro was terminally ill and that France could well be one that would give him the coup de grace.

        Capital, and soon human: “Already, many French gray matter migrates to the Anglo-Saxon to escape the burdens of our aristocratic society. A young talent, which does not leave a great school, has no objective interest to remain in France. “

    • Babel full article translation:

      “Since the banking ace of the summer the 2011 capital flees France”

      The bankruptcy it is now!
      An invisible basic movement is moving since August 2011: the departure of the capital out of France. The banking ace whose our journalists do not dare to speak gave the signal departure of a catastrophic migration of the capital for France: the investors are divorcing the second economy Europe.
      The weakness of Sarkozy vis-a-vis Merkel is to be sought there and not elsewhere.
      One does not give lessons when its banks are almost in bankruptcy.

      On April 17, Bloomberg threw a paving stone in the pond: “And if France left the euro? More and more of savers anticipate this scenario”.

      Since August 2011, the bank of France paid nearly 90 billion euros at the German and Dutch national banks, that done as many capital in less in the French economy. The gigantic sums that the ECB freed for the banks since the crisis of summer 2011 were employed to pay invoices with the profit of the German and Dutch banks.

      This mechanics is envisaged by the treaties. The national banks, in the eurosystème, have indeed as a function to ensure the monetary transfers between Convention country within the framework of the intra-Community trade. To be precise, they ensure the payments of the international or transborder scriptural payments.

      Considering our external deficit increases unceasingly, the phenomenon has a simple explanation: the bank of France injects more liquid in its neighbors than it does not receive any them, since we are essential much and that we export less.

      Until the end August 2011, the contrary phenomenon occurred. France was profit clear flows of capital coming from its neighbors, in Europe where Ireland, Italy and to a certain extent Spain, lost each day a share of their liquidities.

      Since August 2011, France joined the battalion of the contributors, Italy and Spain at the head, whose central banks flood the Dutch and German markets of liquidities lent at low prices by the European central bank. Simply to balance the trade balance.

      Here France financially reduced to the row of its Mediterranean neighbors, increasingly dispossessed of its assets.

      It is necessary to see there the sign of a temptation for of French leaving the euro much. Objectively, the explanation is smoky, but it informs us usefully about the bets that financial American makes today as for the future of the single currency, and as for the capacity of France to hold a role to with it. The markets acquired the conviction that the euro was in final phase and that France could be well that which would give him the death-blow.

      Sign times, on April 13, the Echoes published an article on the life insurance in Luxembourg. This kind of advertising story explained patiently why the moment had just placed its money on accounts at Luxembourg, instead of wasting its saving on French contracts. Gradually, the conviction is thus made day that the capital may find it very beneficial to leave France.

      Still that is it nothing in comparison exile the human capital to which we prepare. Already, so much of French grey matter emigrates towards the Anglo-Saxon countries to escape aristocratic gravities from our company. A young person of talent, which does not leave an university, does not have any objective interest to remain in France.

      This evil French-there, is much more serious than the financial evil.

    • Hmm… what did you have in mind? Some kind of fiscal crisis? Or a lunatic, immigrant or religious fanatic shooting children in the streets? Riots? Revolution?
      I don’t think Nicky has it in him…

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