Lower the turnout, bigger the surprise

The ‘voting turnout’ variable

This concept, if you are American or British, you have experienced it in your own country. Why? The referendum on Brexit and the election of Donald Trump are the two most iconic examples of this phenomenon.

The concept is very easy to understand. The fewer people will go and vote, the more Le Pen will have a chance to win.

As Le Pen’s program and vision are way more radical than Emmanuel Macron’s ones, the electorate wishing to go for Le Pen are entirely sure of their vote. On the other hand, Macron has the complicated task to lead a not very convinced ‘republican front’ until the Elysée.

A third of the people who voted for François  Fillon wish to vote Le Pen, 15% for Jean-Luc Mélenchon, according to data collected by OpinionWay,.t might seem not enough to win the election, the most encouraging side of this poll for the National Front candidate is that respectively 37% and 34% of Fillon and Mélenchon electorate are tempted not to go voting or leaving a blank vote. This would bring more weight in the balance for Le Pen’s voters.

© OpinionWay

Therefore, even if the opposite may not be entirely true, it is absolutely sure that a low turnout would mean Macron’s call for rally to vote against Le Pen would have failed. Le Pen’s chances to win this election would therefore subsequently increase.

For the record, low turnouts in the referendum on Brexit and in the US General Election last year have resulted in the victory of both right-wing ideologies; both openly congratulated by Le Pen.

But, the polls and estimations are there and Le Pen does not manage to clearly gather all the French around her belief. For more than a year now, thousands of polls have been published and all of them were clear on one issue: Le Pen will be in the runoff but will lose by a significant margin.

Girl watching campaign’s posters / © France24

Along the week before the runoff, polls kept showing Macron would win this election with at least 60% of the vote. Le Pen claimed herself as the candidate who would finally be “the candidate of the people” that would triumph over the “candidate of the globalisation and the big companies”. But, during the debate on Wednesday, 63% of the French people have declared Macron as the most “convincing”.


Alain Duhamel, like a wide range of analysts, all agreed to say that “Marine Le Pen have clearly shown she did not have the composure and the presence needed to become President”.

The glass ceiling  

Marine, like her dad Jean-Marie in 2002, seems to face one more time the ‘republican’ glass ceiling over her head that prevents her from gathering more than 50% of the voters in a general election.

Straight after the results on the 23 of April,  all around the political sphere was this one particular idea: How to make sure Le Pen does not win this election. The recipe to do so varied among the political figures but the result remains the same. Fillon and Benoit Hamon both called the Les Républicains and Parti Socialiste supporters to vote for Macron. On the far left, Mélenchon called his supporters, the ‘insoumis’ (unruly) to judge what is best for them and that he will “never personally put a Le Pen bulletin in an envelope”. He, therefore, called his electorate to vote blank or for Marcon.

Only Nicolas Dupont-Aignan openly called his electorate to vote National Front. He made a joint press conference with Le Pen in which the FN leader declared that, if elected, Dupont-Aignan would be her Prime Minister. This declaration created a lot of reactions within Dupont-Aignan’s party. Dominic Jamet, vice-president of Debout La France openly declared he would resign from his functions moments after the statement.


Trump/Clinton lookalike


The resemblance with the American elections last year seems obvious for many analysts across the French media: the populist leader facing a candidate with difficulties to completely satisfy the overall population. On the battle of ideas, Le Pen, like Trump seems not to have the possibility to become the winner of this election. But Macron, who has difficulties to reach the heart of every French, may be the first witness of what would be the biggest shock in the history of French politics.




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