Ballots & Bullets (UK):
Have French twenty-somethings deserted the Socialist Party?
Much has been made in recent days of Nicolas Sarkozy overtaking François Hollande for the first time in polling for the first round of the French presidentials. This symbolic croisement may or may not reflect a change in Sarkozy’s fortunes and the first step towards an historic electoral turnaround. It certainly reflects a trend to date found only in the IFOP polls, well within the margin of error and not replicated in the second round polls, which still all give Hollande a clear if reduced victory. This campaign key moment has overshadowed a potentially more interesting – and troubling – polling phenomenon overlooked by most of the press.
On 14 March, the French press reported that an IFOP poll of les primo-votants – first-time voters – put François Hollande way out in front, with 31% of vote intentions, followed by Marine Le Pen (23%) and Nicolas Sarkozy (21%). The same day, a CSA poll carried out amongst those in the 18-30 age category concluded that Hollande was out of step with the young electorate, managing only 18% of this group, against 26% for Le Pen and 25% for Sarkozy. On Monday evening, amongst 18-24 year olds, an ostensibly earlier IFOP poll had 27% for Hollande, 26% for Sarkozy and 16% for Le Pen.