Europe 2009: French Results and Analysis
This is the final posts on country-by-country overviews of the European election results. We end with France, where I’m able lots more analysis. We’ll start out with results:
UMP 27.87% (+11.23%) winning 29 seats (+12)
PS 16.48% (-12.42%) winning 14 seats (-17)
Europe Ecologie – The Greens 16.28% (+8.87%) winning 14 seats (+8)
MoDem 8.45% (-4.08%) winning 6 seats (-5)
Left Front – Alliance of the Overseas 6.47% (+0.59%) winning 5 seats (+2)
FN 6.34% (-3.47%) winning 3 seats (-4)
NPA 4.88% (+2.32%)
Libertas 4.8% (-3.6%) winning 1 seat (-2)
Independent Ecological Alliance 3.63% (+1.72%)
t/o: 40.65% (-2.14%)
UMP in blue, PS in red, Greens-EE in green, Left Front in the last red
Results by Euro Constituency (all those breaking 5% and the closest to 5%)
Nord-Ouest: UMP 24.22% (4), PS 18.1% (2), Greens 12.1% (1), FN 10.18% (1), MD 8.67% (1), Left 6.84% (1), NPA 5.8%, Libertas 4.26%
Ouest: UMP 27.16% (3), PS 17.29% (2), Greens 16.65% (2), Libertas 10.27% (1), MD 8.48% (1), NPA 5.13%, Left 4.58%
Est: UMP 29.20% (4), PS 17.24% (2), Greens 14.28% (1), MD 9.44% (1), FN 7.57% (1), NPA 5.64%, AEI 4.26%
Sud-Ouest: UMP 26.89% (4), PS 17.72% (2), Greens 15.83% (2), MD 8.61% (1), Left 8.16% (1), FN 5.94%, NPA 5.62%, AEI 4.24%
Sud-Est: UMP 29.34% (4), Greens 18.27% (3), PS 14.49% (2), FN 8.49% (1), MD 7.37% (1), Left 5.9% (1), NPA 4.33%
Massif Central-Centre: UMP 28.51% (3), PS 17.79% (1), Greens 13.58% (1), MD 8.15%, Left 8.06%, NPA 5.45%, FN 5.12%, Libertas 4.9%
Ile-de-France: UMP 29.6% (5), Greens 20.86% (4), PS 13.58% (2), MD 8.52% (1), Left 6.32% (1), FN 4.40%
Outre Mer: UMP 29.69% (1), Left-AOM 21.02% (1), PS 20.27% (1), Greens 16.25%, MD 9.29%, Libertas 2.88%
The results are pleasing for mainly two parties. Firstly, the UMP, a governing party winning, despite it being a weak victory, in an economic crisis in France is undeniably a remarkable feat. It is the first time since the UDF’s victory in 1979 that the presidential party has won the European elections. However, the most remarkable result of the night is that of the Greens and their Europe Écologie outfit. Their victory comes with the destruction of the Socialist Party, which finds itself in the same situation as it was between 1992 and 1995. The PS has been divided by the Reims Congress in November 2008, they have failed to offer any sort of platform since then, and their campaign has been hypocritical and very poor. The Green’s competition came also from Bayrou’s MoDem, though Bayrou destroyed his chances by calling Daniel Cohn-Bendit a pedophile in a TV debate. There are also socio-economic causes for the Greenies surprise wins, which I’ll explain later.
The UMP has won, that’s undeniable. However, this is quite a Pyrrhic victory for them. Their 28% is below Sarkozy’s 31% in April 2007, but Sarkozy had atleast Le Pen’s 10.4% as a vote reserve for the runoff then. Today, the UMP is totally isolated. The closest to them is Philippe de Villiers’ Libertas and Nicolas Dupont-Aignan’s DLR, but that’s statistically irrelevant. The regional elections in 2010, while the UMP will certainly gain (it would be quasi-impossible to fall lower than their disastrous 2004 levels), the new system in use since 2004 is a classic two-round system. Winning 28% won’t suffice to cry victory anymore. The UMP has unarguably moved farther east/southeast, though to my surprise, the UMP’s gains in the old moderate right departments (Lozère, Aveyron, Val-de-Loire region) have been about the same as the UMP’s gains in the East. Sarkozy’s gains with manual workers in 2007 have been quasi-eliminated, with the biggest drops recorded in those hard hit by the recession (Oise, Moselle, Pas-de-Calais). The UMP seems to have lost a few Le Pen voters who have returned to the FN fold (though these loses seem limited to the North West and Alpes-Maritimes). The map also shows a relatively strong Baudis effect in the South West, though it’s much weaker than the similar effect in 1994. The UMP’s top candidates in the South West but also Massif-Centre have proved to be better candidates than Sarkozy and the important improvements on Sarko’s performance have come in those departments of Chiraquie/Pompidolie and “Baudisie”. Maine-et-Loire’s improvement is due to a strong favourite son effect for the top candidate, the President of the Maine-et-Loire CG, Christophe Béchu, which has been relatively confined to his department though Béchu was undoubtedly a fine candidate for the Ouest as a whole. However, there has been a Royal effect in Poitou-Charentes, with the UMP’s gains more limited in that region and the PS (the list was led by a local ally of Royal) performing above average.
The PS has lost because it lost a key category, middle-class generally well-off educated urban voters, to the Greens. The Greater Paris region is a perfect example. Also look at the poor showings in the Rhone (Lyon), Bouches-du-Rhone (Marseille), Isere (Grenoble – one of the most Green cities in France), Ille-et-Vilaine (Rennes), Gironde (Bordeaux), Bas-Rhin (Strasbourg), Herault (Montpellier – another quite Green city). Loire-Atlantique is probably due to Saint-Nazaire’s industrial region since the well-off areas voted Green. Their strongest departments are more rural or industrialized (lower-class blue collar) than average (where Greenies don’t poll well). Also, losing Nièvre (Mitterrand’s home turf, where the PS has maitained its dominance even without its founder) is a sign of an extremely bad election. They lost it in the 1992 regionals, 1993 legislatives, 1994 Euros.
A mix old Greenie strongholds in Savoie, Brittany, the Greater Grenoble-Lyon area, and Alsace; and recent success in urban areas (on the back of the centre-leftist weakly Socialist middle-class switching from PS to Greenies, a la 1992 and 1993). The seemingly ‘poor’ result in Alsace is due to Waechter’s list, which got 5.85% in Bas-Rhin and 7% in Haut-Rhin. When comparing the sum of EE+AEI in Alsace, you’re very much above the Greenies’ 1989 result. You also have an important favourite son effect for the various top candidates. Aveyron for Bove, Drome for Rivasi (she represented Valence between 1997 and 2002), Guadeloupe for Durimel. The Green success in Corse is due to the fact that a member of the Corsican PNC (Francois Alfonsi, now MEP) was second on Rivasi’s list. The Greenies almost won Corse-du-Sud, in fact. As expected, the industrial areas of the North and East and the left-wing rural areas of the Massif-Central are not fertile land for the Greenies. Neither are areas where the CPNT is powerful (Somme, Manche, Gironde’s result is too influenced by Bordeaux and its agglomeration for it to come out). The Greenies have regained strength lost in 2004 in Ile-de-France. They probably took most of CAP21’s vote in the constituency in 2004 in addition to the middle-class urban block described above (especially important in Ile-de-France, much more so than a joke like CAP21).
To prove the urban vote theory, here are some staggering numbers of major cities:
Paris: UMP 29.97, Greens 27.46, PS 14.69, MoDem 8.31, Left 5.05
Lyon: UMP 30.84, Greens 23.7, PS 15.51, MD 8.74
Rennes: Greens 27.41, UMP 21.87, PS 19.81, MD 8.54, Left 6.04
Montpellier: UMP 24.5, Greens 23.16, PS 17.1, Left 7.64, MD 7.61, FN 5.64, NPA 5.54
Mulhouse: UMP 26.35, Greens 18.05, PS 16.22, FN 10, MD 8.64
Bordeaux: UMP 31.54, Greens 22.34, PS 15, MD 9.25, Left 5.99
Marseille: UMP 27.85, Greens 16.33, PS 15.89, FN 11.6, Left 7.84, MD 6.17
Grenoble: Greens 29.04, UMP 21.22, PS 19.09, MD 7.52, Left 6.87
Toulouse: UMP 30.07, Greens 22.05, PS 16.96, Left 7.92, MD 7.45, NPA 5.17
Nantes: UMP 25.78, Greens 25.54, PS 17.95, MD 8.18, Libertas 5.27
Neuilly: UMP 65.17, Greens 11.83, MD 5.95
Versailles: UMP 43.41, Greens 15.4, MD 9.67, Libertas 8.05, PS 7.84
Le Havre: UMP 21.84, Greens 17.66, PS 12.94, PCF 10.62, FN 8.26, NPA 5.6
Annecy: UMP 31.55, Greens 23.19, PS 12.69, MD 9.06, FN 5.67
Strasbourg: UMP 27.84, PS 23.36, Greens 21, MD 9.87, FN 5.06
The MoDem’s electorate is very loose and has shifting loyalties (goes well with its leader, I suppose). Along with the PS, they lost the urban vote I described above, to the Greenies. Unsurprising and a very uniform map. The remnants of the UDF map plus a surprisingly strong vote for Lepage in Normandie (she was councillor of a town in the Calvados), a favourite son vote for Bruno Joncour in Cotes-d’Armor (he’s the Mayor and was second on the list). Tarn is a bit weird, but the MoDem’s number 2 on the Sud Ouest list is Mayor of a city there (Puylaurens) and an incumbent MEP (defeated now). Results in the Greater Paris, Greater Lyon (the UDF was rather strong here) and Centre are deceiving. The MoDem’s map is shifting away from the UDF map more to a personal vote map, especially with the MoDem’s continued high performances in Bayrou’s home turn, Pyrenées-Atlantiques.
Some strong showings in the old PCF lands, especially the Red Rural areas (Limousin, Allier) plus the Gard (old PCF stronghold), Cher (ditto, but less so). The PCF still dominates the far-left share of the workers’ vote, unsurprisingly little NPA breakthrough there. They’re far stronger than Besancenot’s bunch in the NPDC region. I don’t see what the Left Party/Mélenchon adds. I thought the Ariège and Hautes-Pyrenées at first, but there’s a sizeable PCF vote there, though this year’s showing is quite high. The only interesting “additions” outside of the PCF realm are maybe the Landes (Emmanuelli, a member of the PS’ hard left which has not joined the PG). Even Indre-et-Loire and… Lozère have some Communist strenght. In the former, in Saint-Pierre-des-Corps (a poor industrial Tours suburb) and in the Red Cévennes in the latter.
The strong FN vote is not returning strongly in Alsace or Lorraine. It seems more of a return to a 1986-style map (Pieds-Noir territory plus some strength out East) plus Nord Ouest (I assume a fair share of FN voters who voted for Sarkozy in 2007 have returned due to the recession hitting harder there than elsewhere). The FN is obviously dead out West, but that isn’t news. However, I would note that the FN has done best where its old figures were on top – Marine Le Pen did quite well in the Nord Ouest and JMLP in the Sud Est. In fact, the differences between the Orne (in Marine’s constituency) and an old FN stronghold like Eure-et-Loir (Massif-Centre) are interesting.
Unsurprising far-left map, but there’s a number of interesting intricacies in this map. Firstly, the decline of the old “Maoist”/young crazy revolutionary vote in the Greater Paris which probably went Green. The NPA’s share of the vote in Ile-de-France is very bad for them. I remember reading somewhere that the NPA was becoming more working class and less young revolutionary idiot than the LCR was. I would note the poor results in the NPDC, proof if there is of the NPA not breaking through with blue collar workers, though the results in industrial Lorraine seem pretty solid. As always, a fair share of the modern far-left vote used to vote PCF in the ’80’s and early ’90’s and have started to vote for Trots (Laguiller then Besancenot) since 2002 if not before. Reflected on the map. Overall, not very promising at all. You have them losing votes in the far-left’s traditional Nordistes strongholds and also loosing the young (and well-off, o/c) revolutionary vote in urban areas. A very unstructured map, though the NPA doesn’t give me the impression that elections are a big thing for them.
Traditional de Villiers map for the Ouest with his results declining the father out you get from Montaigu. The CPNT effect has been quite minimal, visible only in the Somme, Manche. A lot of the Hunters vote went FN or UMP, probably the latter more than the former. Marie-Claude Bompard was second on Patrick Louis’ list and could explain the Vaucluse result. The Est results probably also based on favourite sons.
Random statistics for other interesting lists:
The FN dissident (the We Hate Marine Le Pen group) did very poorly. Carl Lang got 1.52% in the North West and Jean-Claude Martinez got 0.92% in the South West. A list supported by Carl Lang’s Party of France got 1.88%. Anti-Zionist got 1.3% in Ile-de-France (2.83% in the 93). Parti Breton: 2.36% in Bretagne (5 departments), EAJ: 1.98% in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques,
Batasuna: 2.70% in the Pyrenees-Atlantiques. The old CNIP got 0.07% nationally, definitely a good start for a great future! Newropeans got 0.01% nationally, beaten by the Stalinists (0.02%) and Royalists (0.02% also). The biggest losers are some list called Programme contre la précarité et le sexisme, winning a great 24 votes nationally.