Full tables for the YouGov/Sunday Times poll are now up here. On the regular trackers David Cameron is at minus 23 (from minus 26 last week), Ed Miliband minus 46 (from minus 44), Nick Clegg at minus 55 (from minis 54). The government’s continuing troubles don’t seem to have damaged David Cameron any further since last week, but to put it in context he was at around minus ten for the eight months or so before March, so neither has he recovered significantly.

Asked a slightly different way George Osborne has a approval rating of minus 40 – down from minus 31 at the time of the budget. Opinions of the budget itself have also become ever more negative – only 13% now think it will be good for the economy, 43% think it will be bad. More broadly, 27% of people thought that government had been doing well but has lost its way in recent weeks (14% think it hasn’t, 45% think it was doing badly in the first place). Of those, 33% blame George Osborne the most, followed by David Cameron on 23%.

Turning to the issue of Abu Qatada and human rights 70% think that the ECHR has too much power, and 77% would prefer the final ruling on Human Rights cases to be made in the UK. On the specifics of Qatada himself, 81% would like to see him deported now regardless of any appeal, 14% think he should be allowed to stay while his appeal is heard. Only 28% think Theresa May has handled the issue well, 54% think she has handled it badly.

Moving onto the proposed strikes by fuel tanker drivers and tube workers the public have little sympathy for either, a majority of people are opposed to the strike action by fuel tanker drivers (by 56% to 25%) and tube workers (by 53% to 22%). However, while these specific strikes don’t carry public support there is little support for strike bans for either group. Given a list of professions, a majority of people tend to support their right to strike – the only professions we asked about that people think should not be able to strike are police officers, firefighters and doctors.

Finally there were a series of questions on education. Respondents thought reading and writing was taught well in schools by 53% to 37% badly, on maths the figures are 50% well to 40% badly. Parents who actually have school age children were significantly more positive, with 73% thinking reading and writing is currently taught well, 72% thinking maths is. Despite this broad approval of current teaching standards, 60% also say that teaching standards are not demanding enough (47% of parents of school-age children would). 67% of people (61% of parents) would support keeping children back a year if they do not make progress, 64% of people (61% of parents) would support stopping child benefit for parents whose children persistently truant.

As well as the normal weekly poll, YouGov also has a French poll in the Sunday Times, conducted ahead of today’s general election. YouGov have Hollande ahead on 30%, Sarkozy on 26%, Le Pen on 15%, Melenchon on 14% and the various others on 15%. This is a bigger lead for Hollande than some of the other final polls, which have shown between a 3.5 point lead for Hollande (BVA and Ipsos) and the two main contenders equal on 27% (Ifop and TNS).

Overall, the final polls have Hollande between 27%-30%, Sarkozy between 25%-27%, Le Pen between 14%-17%, Melenchon between 12%-14.5%.

222 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times & the French election”

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  1. It’s about time Governments governed for the people instead of for the Bond Markets.

    They haven’t done too good so far, have they, those arbiters of economic wisdom? The whole world is crashing.

  2. @Max
    “You talking bout the wrong election mate”
    Oops – mea culpa. Too many threads for a bear of very little brain.

  3. “Oh, here we go, we’re getting all London Mayoral now. Angela likes Nicolas but not Francois, gets on OK with Dave, couldn’t stand Silvio”

    Could be a good move from the UK’s perspective. So far the EU has been run by Paris and Berlin. If Paris goes Socialist, Angela’s going to look for a new ally. Dave and Angela may not see eye to eye at the moment, but both are pushing the policy of austerity and are modern, Centrist leaning Conservatives.

    Could Berlin be about to dump Paris and have an affair with London? Oooh it’s like one of them sh*tty french romances.

  4. Oh BTW
    Cllr Peter Cairns laid down a challenge to list policies about which there was uncertainty about the SNP’s position quite a few days ago. Insouciantly I mentioned currency, nato membership and bus regulation.
    Other than the predictable hint that currency perhaps referred to my own election fund-raising no SNP response has been received.
    Of course the joke one here is Nato membership. Leaving Nato has been the SNP position since the year dot but as everyone knows, the SNP is a one person one vote party and the person is A Salmond. And he has, it is reported, changed his mind. Of course, you can’t be right too soon in the SNP so there has to be total radio silence until the new line is announced which will we are told will be soon.
    Then the uncertainty will be nuclear weapons, currency and bus regulation. Look out for comments about how Scotland will be taking over Nato in partnership with Germany to move to a non-nuclear approach etc

  5. @ David

    “Of course fair-mindedness works both ways so I am happy to pay tribute to some of the real achievements of Labour’s period in office:

    The Civil Partnerships Act (top of my list because I personally benefitted)
    The Human Rights Act (a landmark of liberal legislation)
    Devolution in Scotland and Wales
    Increased spending on health and education (though I question how wisely that money was spent, particularly in health)

    But by 2010 they were exhausted, devoid of fresh ideas and thoroughly deserved to lose…”

    I think you’re being fair and objective even with your partisan lense. I think sometimes we’re all too quick to dismiss what our opponents have done when in power.

    “I hate FPTP but, for what it’s worth, if we’re going to have FPTP I think there is a very strong case for equalising constituency sizes. Unequal constituency sizes plainly breach the principle that each vote should have equal value.”

    I agree with you on this entirely (though I don’t agree with the idea of reducing the number of MPs, it seems kinda arbitrary).

    I’m actually starting to worry that when it comes to Congressional elections in the U.S., we are starting to truly lose the one man, one vote principle federally because we have too few members of Congress. Obviously it’s different for the UK. But I never like the idea of reducing the numbers of elected officials.

    @ Raf

    “Le Monde’s online page (www.lemonde.fr) has a full breakdown by district.”

    Thanks. I will check that out. I don’t know what it is but there’s something about watching election results come in, looking at the breakdown of the results, which places voted in which ways, analyzing exit polls, comparing numbers to the last election, watching numbers change with updates in the number of precincts reporting…there’s just something exciting and fun about it. Especially when there’s music and colors.

  6. Crossbat

    Substitute ‘Margaret Thatcher’ for Francoise Mitterand’ in your post and it remains just as accurate. (OK so the actual years quoted are slightly different).

    Yes he was so universally loved that it has taken (probably) 17 years for the left to regain power. Another similarity with the UK, except it was the right in the case of the UK.

    The fact is, that the left always comes to grief eventually, as they are idealists, who believe that the only way to control spending, is to increase taxation.

  7. Top Hat

    Problem with predicting Lab/Con/Lib local election %’s in 2012 is that not all parts of the UK has local elections and those that do are not all using FPTP.

    Only 71 out of 199 district councils are holding elections and only 16 out of 54 unitary councils.

    All 36 metropolitan councils are holding elections as are all 22 welsh district councils and there also elections for the london assembly.

    There are also elections for scottish councils but these are elected by PR and are difficlut to interpret.

    In theory, the elections that are not taking place are primary in shire districts and generally favour the tories.

  8. @Max

    What we can’t know at the end of Mitterand’s second term in 1995 is how he would have fared had he been able to run again. He was unpopular by the end of his 14 years, what incumbent isn’t after that length of time, and he had suffered some very bad assembly election results in 1993 which forced him to have to cohabit with parties of the right for the last two years of his presidency, but his successor, Lionel Jospin did surprisingly win the first round in the 1995 Presidential election. However he lost the run off with Chirac by about a 5% margin (52v47). A creditable result, nonetheless, for the Socialists after 14 years in power. Major and Brown would have killed for electoral performances like that after long periods that their respective parties had in office!

  9. I think it will be the Modem’s that decide this election. When adding the right together, you get about 46%, when adding the left you get 45.% Then there’s the remaining 9% that the Modem’s got. How will they split? Polls say to Hollande, but they used to be in the European People’s Party like Sarkozy.

    Now I understand that not all National Front votes will go to Sarkozy and not all Left Front votes will go to Hollande. But the assumption holds quite well,

    2 new polls today show the 2nd round both as

    Holland 54% v Sarkozy 46%

    Now as I’m sure the Labour supporters on here will agree with me ( it’s their own words after all on London) that 4% is easily gainable in 2 weeks.

    Also, I wasn’t aware of this, but my friend in Paris just told me of something very interesting, I had no idea about at all. There is going to be 1 national tv debate (apparently Sarko asked for 3 but only got 1) and apparently, Hollande is known for being a bad debater apparently and Sarkozy is apparently a very good one

    ( I don’t know, it’s very hard for me to judge a french debate, I can’t speak French)

    Some elections, debates have no impact whatsoever, in some however, a debate can be a game changer. Hollande is obviously the front runner, but Sarkozy could be a dark horse. He’s down, but you’d be a fool to count him out.

  10. @MAX
    `Now as I’m sure the Labour supporters on here will agree with me ( it’s their own words after all on London) that 4% is easily gainable in 2 weeks`

    There`s a difference though,The Tories are unpopular in London so Ken has a chance.

    Sarkozy also has a chance ofcourse but his policies haven`t worked for 5 years,so people may be in the mood to give someone else the job

  11. Max

    A long post but difficult to take seriously as I doubt you have any real idea about French politics and how transferrals will go.

    A headline in Le Monde is saying that Le Pen will in no way support Sarkozy so this simple left/right adding up is not that simple.

    I work with a lot of French people, have lived next to a French département (Suisse Romande) and speak the language – I have no idea how the subtleties of French politics work though so we will have to wait until May 6

  12. Max I don’t think I’ve ever heard an incumbent described as a ‘dark horse’ :p
    Sarkozy has done his thing, hes not popular. Its for Hollande to lose, not Sarkozy to win.


    Am no nationalist, but I’m confused why so many unionists fail to understand that Scotland is a democracy and referendum is not on giving power to SNP but for an independent state. The first election is where these issues will be debated. I think Unionists are falling for a trap, SNP are being quiet – they’ll use this over time to create a sense of empowerment when the time is right. Best to lay off imo.

    I mean really, ‘Bus Regulation’ /sigh

  13. “A long post but difficult to take seriously as I doubt you have any real idea about French politics and how transferrals will go.
    A headline in Le Monde is saying that Le Pen will in no way support Sarkozy so this simple left/right adding up is not that simple.”

    My comment, if you had bothered to read it, was that although you can’t simply add the FN’s 20 to NK’s 26, the polls do actually show NK on 46 in the final round, so while there are some FN’s who won’t vote for Sarkozy, they are likely balanced out somewhere else along the spectrum, with people who will vote Sarkozy. So while it’s not as simple as add the 2 together, you do get in this instance at least, the same result.

    Miss Le Penn, may not actively say vote NK, but it will be the natural tendency. Unlike the UK where there is only the BNP, the french people were able to choose who got their protest vote. They could go for the Far Left or the Far right. The majority of the ones who went for the Far right, I am assuming are naturally more at home on the right, otherwise, they would have gone for the far left. That’s why I then made the point, that Sarkozy will need to focus on the Modem’s as they likely make up most if not all of that 9% difference bettwen the total votes – total left – total right.

    If the right, can hold it’s 46% figure from the first round, which opinion polls say it does, then he only needs to gain an extra 4% +1 of the MoDem’s 9% to narrowly eek it out. I’m not saying this is likely. It’s very likely that Hollande will win, but what I’m saying is, don’t count Sarko out yet. This debate could be a game changer, and as he is seen as being good at debates, compared to Hollande’s weakness, this could be his chance to gain that 4%. Alternatively, it could go all A over T 4 him and Hollande wins a landslide.

  14. @Jolube;

    That’s why I said national projected. :D

  15. “Its for Hollande to lose, not Sarkozy to win.”

    Indeed I quite agree, as I keep saying, I don’t think it’s likely Sarkozy will win, I think it’s likely that Hollande will in fact win. But, Sarkozy still has 1 lost shot, a potential silver bullet, that is the upcoming debate. He’s known for being a strong debater, and debating is seen as Hollandes weakness. It’s probably Sarko’s last and final chance, but it’s still [b]A[/b] chance.

  16. @ Robert Newark

    “Wasn’t that the Marie Antoinette chant?”

    Maybe. I like seeing the results for Vendee because that was the province that had the counter revolt against the French Revolution. So I’m not surprised, given its history, to see Sarkozy do pretty well there.

    @ Max King

    The scenario you offer isn’t one that I neccessarily agree with because I would imagine that most Brits (including the Scots) would simply assume that their Socialists are better than the French ones (like with everything else where there’s a rivalry between the two great nations).

  17. Max

    another long post with lots of guesses and assumptions on a country’s politics where you don’t speak the language so cannot read the papers/comments as well as understanding of historical impact (Bayrou is from the right but has fallen out with Sarko – so where will his votes go?)

    It is reasonable to debate on British politics as we have a reasonable idea of the context and others can correct factual mistakes.

    We cannot do this for French politics – unless someone out there from a French background can help us

  18. Max

    Do you have any evidence that tv debates can change the course of an election significantly?

    Didn’t work in the 3 tv debates here, hasn’t made much difference in the US since Kennedy/Nixon (and that is debatable).

    The French are sophisticated politicos (more so than us Brits) and take it seriously – I personally doubt that it would change much and is more an act of desperation – no incumbent has lost the 1st round during the 5th republic so that is one fact that looks bad for Sarkozy.

  19. Bazsc

    Qu’est-ce qui vous fait penser que je ne parle pas la langue?

    French A level for the win, I read Aujourd’hui en France and Le Figaro

  20. You said before you don’t speak the language and cannot follow the debates and now say you are fluent?

    By the way you should have used the subjunctive!

  21. Bazsc

    I can read it, and if I really concentrate I can write it if I concentrate, but speaking it is much more difficult, I can do it, but am very slow, but when I hear it, it’s just too fast for me and I can’t process it in time. I need them to speak very slowly so I can hear every word.

  22. “another long post with lots of guesses and assumptions on a country’s politics where you don’t speak the language so cannot read the papers/comments as well as understanding of historical impact.”

    We may as well all pack up and go home then, from this thread, and probably others. This is, after all, a site where we hang around to share our speculations based on varying degrees of education, intuition and wishful thinking. It seems unfair to single Max out for blame.

    French A-Level in no way implies fluency, by the way. ;-).

  23. @Hannah

    Thank you Hannah, again for your fairness in comment. And I am in no way fluent. I just objected to Baz’s portayal that I was clueless.

  24. Hannah

    I do not think you can compare the combined local and historical knowledge we have on our own country (remember the site is UKpolling report) with the knowledge of a country that is very different – similar to the US, although we do have some knowledgable people on that.

    What we have had on the French election is speculation on what the result means for the second round of voting with long posts that are based on just guesswork and no knowledge – what we know is that Sarkozy lost the first round by around 2% -and what that means for the second round is anyone’s guess unless they have specific understanding of French politics

    Max, I never said you were clueless but you said that you could not follow the debates in French and I presumed from that you would not have the in-depth knowledge on France to make your assumptions valid.

  25. Bazsc, but you can gain knowledge from doing your research.

  26. @ Nick P

    “It’s about time Governments governed for the people instead of for the Bond Markets.

    They haven’t done too good so far, have they, those arbiters of economic wisdom? The whole world is crashing.”

    I agree in principle. It’s for us, by us (FUBU). Or at least government is supposed to be FUBU. It can’t be For the Bonds Salespeople by us.

  27. @ Virgilio

    Congratulations on your primary victory! I hadn’t been following the election closely but I hadn’t realized that Sarkozy had actually led a lot of the primary polling and that there seemed to be a trend against Hollande at the end. It’s an impressive showing for Hollande to come out ahead. He outperformed his ex-common law wife by about 4% from 2007 while Sarkozy’s numbers were about 4% lower. Even though who comes out first in the primary is largely for bragging rights, the psychological impact creates great momentum heading into the runoff.

    I was looking at the results in Paris with some interest. Hollande won Paris, which was an improvement over last time. But I thought it was interesting that Hollande won in the 4th and 5th arrendisements. Having been to both, I know that these are fairly high rent areas and I believe they’ve been conservative strongholds in the past. I was also struck by the results in the 1st. Sarkozy won there but only by a single digit margin and only with 39%. I’ve been to the 1st (it’s definitely one of the more touristy sections of Paris) and it’s very ritzy area (although my favorite place, Place Concorde seems to be split between the 1st and the 8th). Now that had long been a stronghold for the French right if I’m not mistaken. But it seems plausible that one center left candidate with the support of centrist Bayrou and leftist Melencon voters could conceivably take it. And if Sarkozy is weak there, that bodes poorly for the runoff.

    I’m personally pleased because there’s a small town in rural Brittany where I had stayed when I was really young. It was a beautiful little town, about two blocks long and right on the water, not too far from Saint Malo. I have really fond childhood memories of the town (though not the people who we stayed with). The town though was very old and very pretty. On one side of the town was this delicious fine dining restaurant that served local delicasies like this salt lamb and blue lobsters and turbotan. And then on the other side of the town was this little crepe shack that made delicious crepes. Anyway, I’m not sure how the actual town voted itself but its larger electoral precinct voted for Hollande by 3 votes. Exciting.

    All my favorite places in the south of France though seemed to be Sarkozy country. And that seemed to be where LePen was strong. Shame. My parents visited there about 2 years ago and told me that the place had gone downhill. There was this little rural town we lived in for 2 weeks back in the early 90’s and it was beautiful at the time. My parents told me that a lot of the great restaurants and great little pattiseries had closed down and business seemed dead. Places that are economically devestated are easy pickings for right wing zenophobic politics.

  28. According to http://www.google.fr/elections/ed/fr/results?hl=en with 99.9% reporting, it was
    Hollande – 28.6%
    Sarkozy – 27.1%
    Le Pen – 18%
    Melenchon – 11.1%
    That makes the second round much harder to call than the polls were suggesting.
    And as much as I hate to say it, it looks like we can’t discount a Sarkozy victory after all.

  29. @ Virgilio

    Cannes voted for Sarkozy with LePen in second place. Makes me sad. Cannes is the sister city of Beverly Hills. I don’t think the two cities are politically in psynch. Hollande did win Avignon though where I have a number of happy memories. :)

    It’s fun to go through a lot of this data.

  30. @ Tinged Fringe

    I think that you can never discount the possibility of one who finishes in second place in first round coming back to win in the second round.

    I think though that exit polls showed that among those who voted today, a solid majority favored Hollande in the second round.

    If Hollande had been sliding in the polls leading up to this Primary, pulling out a victory is a major psychological boost and a major builder of momentum for his campaign.

  31. Rob Newark, Colin, Crossbat11 – re Mitterand.

    It was his experience that led me to change my view as I was 18 when he was first Elected in 1981.

    He started out as an Keynesian free spender but had to reign in as he was doing this in isolation. We had the Conservatives in power here and that seminal (still divides opinion) 1981 Budget; Reagan was still in his tight moneterist phase before he swithced to execssive fiscal loosening leaving an eventual mess for Bush Snr to sort and lose.
    Also Japan and Germany where running tight macro-economic policies at the time

    I realised that expansionary policies in isolation will not work; in a modern economy, imports grow, leading to inflation and Balance of Payments problems.

    I think the possible big difference this time for Hollande is that we have Obama in the White House following, I would argue, modest expansionary policies – a Romney win would change a lot.

    The positive outcome for Labour in the UK, would be a continued Obama presidency and Hollande victory plus a change in Germany next year leading to semi-coordinated expansionary policies.

    Personally, I would like to see a coordinated major expansion in the worrld economies but the current policies in the Euro-Zone mean Labour can not credibly do this here in isolation so only a modest relaxation is possible.

    Final footnote, Mitterand won his second time as ‘tonton’ or uncle running as the nations father figure and very centrist any semblance of socialism dispelled.

  32. Crossbat11,

    And Alec-Douglas Home was within about 1% of Labour in 1964 after 13 years in power. White Heat of Technology*? More like White Heat of Mediocrity.

    Mitterand’s smart move was to move to the centre. When a partisan politician obtains a super-political identity (like Thatcher in 1982-1983 or Attlee & Churchill after 1945) then they become a very powerful force.

    * Yes, I know that Wilson never said that!

  33. These results also give
    Total Left – 44
    Total Right – 46.9
    Centre – 9.1
    Just for anybody who was interested.

  34. Jim Jam,

    I suspect that Mitt Romney would be more expansionist than Obama, mainly because the Republicans are better at pressuring the Federal Reserve into action since they have more support in the world of finance. Obama’s first term, in practice, has seen the lowest inflation rate of any president since Eisenhower; in contrast, Ronald Reagan rarely had sub-3% inflation even during his second term.

    The Reagan Recovery of 1983-1984, largely driven by the accomodation of budget deficits by the Fed, was an example of how tolerant of expansionist policies the Fed and financial opinion CAN be IF there is a Republican president. In contrast, even in 2010 when the US was heading back into deflation there were screams for “Zimbabwe!” when the Federal Reserve engaged in quantitative easing.

  35. Good morning everyone, after an exhausting electoral night.
    The final results show a great probability for Hollande to win in May 6th. First of all, polls were more accurate than ever, despite the initial shock for LePen’s score. The 6 VI polls published Friday had the following averages:
    Hollande 28.1 Real result: 28.7 (+0.6)
    Sarkozy 26.3 Real result 27.1 (+0,8)
    LePen 15.9. Real result 18 (+2.1)
    Mélenchon 13.5 Real result 11.1 (-2,4)
    Bayrou 10.3 Real result 9.1 (-1.2)
    Joly 2.5 Real result 2.3 (-0.2)
    So, all within MoE. The main divergence, of course, concerned the scores of LePen (underestimated) and Mélenchon (overestimated), but this is not unusual. The more accurate institute was, once again, as in 2007, TNS-SOFRES (Hollande 27, Sarkozy 27, LePen 17, Mélenchon 13, Joly 3), at least arithmetically, because from a political standpoint the winners were those who predicted a Hollande lead (SOFRES and IFOP were the only ones that predicted evens).
    Now, for the runoff, all 5 institutes that conducted exit polls predict a Hollande win between 53 and 56%, average 54%, and this is within the logic of probable vote transfers, according to what had happened in previous elections. So, the voters of Mélenchon and Joly go at 90% Hollande and the remaining mostly blank, the votes of LePen go 50-60 Sarkozy, 20-30 and the remaining blank, and the votes of Bayrou are either spilt in three equal parts (Hollande, Sarkozy, blank) or more in favor of Hollande (40-30-30). This divergence among the institutes for the splitting of Bayrou vote is what causes the variation between 53 and 56 in the prediction for Hollande’s score at the runoff, but they do not affect the overall picture. Now, statistically and psephologically speaking, yesterday’s election had the following records:
    1. Best score for a socialist challenger (Mitterrand in 1981 had 25.8), and second best for a socialist in general (after Mitterrand’s 34 in 1988, when he was a popular incumbent).
    2. First time that the incumbent does not top the first round. Even Giscard in 1981 had a 2.3 point lead over Mitterrand.
    3. Best score ever for the National Front, albeit not best place (it was second in 2002).

    Cannes was always a right-wing stronghold in France’s political geography, so no surprise there.

  36. So it’s closer than predicted and in my view Sarkozy has as much chance of winning the second round as Ken has of beating Boris. (Why do we use christian names for UK politicians & surnames for foreign ones?). Not impossible but unlikely.

    “He started out as an Keynesian free spender but had to reign in ”

    I agree but that’s just another way of saying that his policies unravelled, as I said earlier.

  37. And here are the results of the 3d district (arrondissement) of Paris, where I vote when I am in France:
    Hollande 40.1
    Sarkozy 28.5
    Mélenchon 10.2
    Bayrou 9.8
    Joly 5.6
    LePen 4.2
    Dupont 0.7
    Poutou 0.5
    Arthaud 0.2
    So 56.6 for the Left, 33.4 for the Right and 9.8 for the Center. It is the oldest part of the historical center of Paris (Le Marais), and more than ever a stronghold of the socialists and the left, with also a Green presence stronger than the average.
    In Paris as a whole, the results were:
    Hollande 34.8
    Sarkozy 32.2
    Mélenchon 11.1
    Bayrou 9.3
    LePen 6.2
    Joly 4.2
    Dupont 1.0
    Poutou 0.6
    Arthaud 0.3
    So again a Left majority (51.0), with the Right at 39.7 and the Center at 9.3 It is the strongest socialist showing in Paris ever (even compared to Mitterrand 1988), and the stronger total Left result.

  38. Bill – You may be right about Romney being more expansionist even though it would be monetarist and not fiscally I guess – but I still hope Obama wins of course.
    Reagan’s 83-84 Recovery came too late for Mitterand who had already had to u turn by then, had it started 2 years earlier maybe Thatcher would have been for Turning and not Mitterand?
    Key point for me Robert is that the international context determines how expansionary a domestic Government can be and that Hollande may be in a different situation to that which faced Mitterand (maybe not).
    BTW – Like many other posters I dobt very much that the 75% Tax rate will ever happen.

  39. To Max and others.

    I was in France all last week, in a very right-wing town, listening to France Info and France Inter. I talked to people in cafes and restaurants. I listened to people on buses. The pure hatred of, and contempt for, Sarkozy, is visceral. It’s Hollande’s to lose.

  40. I don’t think Marine Le Pen’s vote can easily be counted as simply “right wing” and lots of her voters will not vote for Sarkozy….

  41. @John Murphy
    Indeed, LePen’s electorate is composite and heteroclite. Together with the classical hard-line right-wingers, there are anti-system protest voters, anti-Islam ones, voters from the popular classes that constituted in the past the base of the communist vote, etc. So adding up Sarkozy+LePen as the “Right” is only conventional, whereas the Left has a real unity, its minor candidates stand united behind Hollande and their voters too. On the contrary, Marine does not give a vote indication, and her father went as far as to predict that Sarkozy is history. And of course a defeat of Sarkozy serves them well, because afterwards the parliamentary right will be in disarray so the NF will have further gains in the forthcoming GE in June, presenting itself as the only strong opposition to the Left (but of course for this to happen the Left has to win the PE, and LePen will see to it by refusing to back Sarkozy.

  42. NICKP

    @”It’s about time Governments governed for the people instead of for the Bond Markets.”

    …so how would that work then?…………
    Government spends more than it’s tax revenue.
    Borrows the difference.
    Needs to do the same thing the following year .
    Lenders say hey your public expenditure is too high for your tax income; you’re not going to default are you?
    Government says no way& borrows again the following year.
    Lenders say hey-this is getting risky-we need a higher rate of interest.
    Government says -get stuffed, the people can’t afford it.
    Lenders say OK-no more Gilts thanks when the existing ones mature.
    Government says-who cares-the people will refuse to pay you back-we default.

    …..so what happens next ?


    @”I agree but that’s just another way of saying that his policies unravelled, as I said earlier.”

    They sure did ! :-

    “The Mitterrand plan was the ultimate experiment in extreme stimulus, a Gallic campaign to out-Keynes even Keynes. The new president raised pay for civil servants and employees of state-owned companies, and at the same time shortened the work week for all French workers from 40 to 39 hours (see editor’s note below). He created 250,000 new government jobs, and lavishly increased payments to mostly middle-class families through a program called Allocations Familiales. The minimum wage rose sharply, and the government flooded the banks with easy money.

    To pay for all the new spending, Mitterrand tripled the budget deficit. Mitterrand not only talked like a Socialist, he acted like one, nationalizing 38 banks, including Paribas, and seven big industrial giants, ranging from chemical colossus Rhone-Poulenc to container producer Pechiney.

    The results were an unmitigated disaster. In 1982 and 1983, inflation stood in double digits, twice the level in the Germany and America. Unemployment soared to over 10%. Mitterrand devalued the franc no less than three times to keep France’s exports of wine and insulation competitive. The French economy was growing by millimeters while its European neighbors recovered in long strides. Top talent was fleeing: Bernard Arnault, now the CEO of luxury goods marketer LVMH, departed for the U.S., declaring that his homeland was becoming a “banana republic.”

    Then, in early 1983, Mitterrand made an historic change in direction. Admitting that he’d been “intoxicated” by his Keynesian vision in 1981, Mitterrand, as the French say it, “put water in his wine” by shifting to far more conventional, prudent, and, frankly, capitalist policies.

    He froze the budget in 1983 and held raises for public employees below the rate of inflation. Monetary policy swung from profligate to restrained. New labor rules made it far easier to pare payrolls, so companies became more willing to rehire workers in good times. Mitterrand did it all under the banner of “La Rigueur,” which roughly translates as “Austerity.”

    By French standards, the results were spectacular. By the mid-80s, the budget was back in balance, and inflation fell to around 4%.

    France shifted more markedly towards a free market mode in 1986, when the conservatives won the legislative elections and a new, pro-capitalist administration took charge under Prime Minister Jacques Chirac.

    From 1986 to 1990, the economy grew at an annual rate of 3.3%, its best five-year performance in the past three decades. The most remarkable accomplishment: Government spending as a share of GDP fell from 52% in the mid-80s to 48% by 1990. For the first time in decades, France was expanding the private sector and shrinking government. What started as a Keynesian dream now looked like something of a capitalist revolution.

    François Mitterrand didn’t switch course because of a sudden change in ideology. He did it chiefly to ensure his political survival. But he also showed a remarkable ability to learn from his mistakes. And his flexibility prolonged his career: He overwhelmingly won a second term in 1988, and died a year after leaving office in 1996.”


  44. France’s economic policy under it’s new President will be absolutely seminal for Europe :-


  45. Colin

    Seems to me we are currently printing money to by Government gilts. Which means your final stage (which presumes that and GDP tax receipts never grow despite stimulus) of default cannot ever happen.

    We have our own currency.

  46. Is there a 2010 curse or it is just the financial, political and social crisis in the EU? After the Netherlands last Friday, the Czech right-wing coalition, also formed in 2010, has collapsed, due to the split of its junior partner, and a snap election is very probable. Currently the Social Democrats lead the governing ODS (conservative) by double digits and the split junior partner VV, marred by scandals, is poised to be excluded from Parliament. Two other 2010 coalitions, the Latvian and the Slovak one, have already collapsed and lost the snap elections of 2011 and 2012 respectively. So the only two 2010 coalitions that stay in place are the UK and the Swedish one, and in both cases the VI polls show a consistent Social Democrat lead.

  47. This is an interesting article, and gives some perspective on the various predictions of what a Hollande win would mean in the UK.


    The nub of most of the predictions on here seems to be along the lines of ‘I’m a Tory supporter, so Hollande will obviously mess up and this will hurt Milliband’, or ‘I’m a Labour supporter, and Hollande will be successful and this will help Milliband’.

    There doesn’t really seem to be much analysis about this other than restating what people’s innate prejudices are.

    Where I like the Telegraph article is that it does introduce some slightly deeper thought to the whole issue of what might happen under a Hollande regime.

    Clearly, Pritchard Evans has picked up on the vaguely pie in the sky stuff about reducing pension age and a mass recruitment of public servants, but as I said yesterday, await the French equivalent of the Osbornesque ‘Gosh chaps, is so much worse than we thought’ and the postponement of such grandiose plans until – you’ve guessed it – the eve of the next presidential election.

    The really big news arising from a Hollande victory is much more likely to be on the structure of the Euro. He is shaping up to lead (or at least back) a Latin revolt.

    The Euro as it stands is finished, and as the article makes clear, Sarkozy would have to continue with the delusional plan to sustain a failed currency – Hollande has a clear opportunity to call a halt.

    There absolutely has to be an acceptance from the Germans that huge structural reforms are required within the Euro, which will probably have to involve significant inflation in the north alongside massive and continued capital transfers to remove the gross imbalances within the zone. Facing down the Germans and saving the Euro, or at least preventing economic Armagedon in the Eurozone, could be the real impact of a Hollande premiership.

    I don’t know the dynamics of French politics, but I will be interested to see whether Hollande makes noises regarding the Euro in the next two weeks as he strives to capture second round votes, but I strongly suspect that the biggest impacts on UK politics will come not from whether a French president is good/bad and socialist/conservative, but much more from what happens in the Eurozone economies.

    It’s hard to see Sarkozy doing anything other than joining Merkel in crashing the entire continent. Hollande, if he takes an alternative path and leads a movement for substantial reform, might yet save it.

    This probably means Cameron should support Hollande, and Ed hope for a Sarkozy surprise, although I don’t write these things in stone.

  48. By the way, Colin, your (or somebody’s?) suggestion that we will see whether socialism works in France is offset by the equally likely prospect of seeing the austerity experiment fail in UK and in Europe.

    The Government here is talking more cuts. I hope it’s just politics, rather than the next step in the spiral downhill.

  49. @ALEC

    How exactly do you get from “the Euro is finished”, to saying it needs structural reforms?

    I think what you are saying is that the Euro will survive but within a different framework. So it is not finished at all. Improved, perhaps.

  50. @ Virgilio

    And of course a defeat of Sarkozy serves them [NF, Le Pen] well, because afterwards the parliamentary right will be in disarray so the NF will have further gains in the forthcoming GE in June, presenting itself as the only strong opposition to the Left (but of course for this to happen the Left has to win the PE, and LePen will see to it by refusing to back Sarkozy.
    This is exactly the type of political analysis which I hoped to find & you have provided it. Thank you :-)

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