Advertisement

Forecasting the Extreme Right Vote in France (1984–2007)

Abstract

This article identifies an issue model forecasting Extreme Right results in France between 1984 and 2007. Building upon the VP-function literature, this article looks at developing a model of electoral support for the Front National and Jean-Marie Le Pen, based upon the key political issues that are seen as motivating votes for this party: unemployment, crime and immigration. Controlling for political context through election type and opposition popularity, we find that the vote is linked to variation in macro-indicators of these issues and that consequently the Extreme Right vote in France is far from unpredictable, as some analyses have previously suggested.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

We’re sorry, something doesn't seem to be working properly.

Please try refreshing the page. If that doesn't work, please contact support so we can address the problem.

Figure 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    As was for instance evident from the 1997 legislative election where the party stood in no less than 132 second-round ballots of which 76 were three-way run-offs.

  2. 2.

    First-round defection to the UMP's candidate by a substantial proportion of previous FN voters — about 20–25% — is indeed largely confirmed by exit polls and correlation analysis at constituency level.

  3. 3.

    We restrict ourselves here to ecological analyses. A number of survey-based, multi-level analyses also exist (e.g. Lubbers et al., 2002; Arzheimer and Carter, 2006).

  4. 4.

    In Erikson and Wlezien's opinion, election-eve polling predictions are ‘trivially easy’, although the 2000 election contest would seem to belie this assertion.

  5. 5.

    We have not given f-values in the models, given that relevant information is provided by the parameter estimates and standard errors. For those interested in p-values, all estimates were strongly significant, except for presidential vote in Model 1 and crime rate in Model 2, neither of which attained significance at 5%.

  6. 6.

    In previous first-order election models the authors ran, criminality appeared to be an important indicator. This finding suggests that there is a first-order/second-order disparity that needs further research. However, with only 19 cases, the possibility of including further controls is limited.

  7. 7.

    Indeed, there is a strong negative correlation (−0.58) between opposition party popularity change and prime ministerial popularity change, suggesting this to be the case.

References

  1. Arzheimer, K. and Carter, E. (2006) ‘Political opportunity structures and right-wing extremist party success’, European Journal of Political Research, 45 (3): 419–443.

  2. Auberger, A. (2005) ‘Forecasts of the 2004 French European Election’, Swiss Political Science Review, 11 (1): 61–78.

  3. Auberger, A. (2007) ‘Economy, politics and results of the French presidential elections’, Paper presented at the Public Choice meeting, Amsterdam, April.

  4. Beck, N. (1999) ‘Evaluating Forecasts and Forecasting Models of the 1996 Presidential Election’, in J. Campbell and J. Garand (eds.) Before The Vote, Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

  5. Bjørklund, T. (2007) ‘Unemployment and the radical right in Scandinavia: Beneficial or non-beneficial for electoral support?’, Comparative European Politics, 5 (3): 245–263.

  6. Cautrès, B. (2003) ‘Les raisons politiques du choix’, in P. Perrineau and C. Ysmal (eds.) Le vote de tous les refus. Les élections élections présidentielle et législatives de 2002, Paris: Presses de Sciences-Po.

  7. Durkheim, E. (1982 [1895]) The Rules of the Sociological Method, W.D. Halls (trans.) New York: The Free Press.

  8. Erikson, R. and Wlezien, C. (1996) ‘Of time and presidential election forecasts’, Political Science and Politics, 29 (1): 37–39.

  9. Evans, J.A. (2000) ‘Le vote gaucho-lepéniste. Le masque extrême d'une dynamique normale’, Revue Française de Science Politique, 50 (1): 21–51.

  10. Evans, J. and Ivaldi, G. (2002) ‘Les dynamiques électorales de l'extrême-droite européenne’, in Revue Politique et Parlementaire, no. 1019, July–August, pp. 67–83.

  11. Evans, J.A. and Ivaldi, G. (2005) ‘An extremist autarky: the systemic separation of the French Extreme Right’, Southern European Society and Politics, 10 (2): 351–366.

  12. Golder, M. (2003) ‘Electoral institutions, unemployment and Extreme Right parties: a correction’, British Journal of Political Science, 33: 525–534.

  13. Jackman, R. and Volpert, K. (1996) ‘Conditions favouring parties of the Extreme Right in Western Europe’, British Journal of Political Science, 26 (4): 501–520.

  14. Jérôme, B. and Jérôme-Speziari, V. (2003) ‘A Le Pen vote function for the 2002 Presidential election: a way to reduce uncertainty’, French Politics, 1 (2): 247–251.

  15. Jérôme, B. and Jérôme-Speziari, V. (2004) ‘The 2004 French regional elections: politico-economic factors of a nationalized local ballot’, French Politics, 3 (1): 142–163.

  16. Jérôme, B. and Jérôme-Speziari, V. (2007) ‘Présidentielle: ce que prévoit la simulation des économistes’, L'Expansion, 25 January.

  17. Knigge, P. (1998) ‘The ecological correlates of right-wing extremism in Western Europe’, European Journal of Political Research, 34 (2): 249–279.

  18. Kramer, G. (1971) ‘Short-term fluctuations in US voting behavior, 1896–1964’, American Political Science Review, 65: 131–143.

  19. Kuhn, R. (2005) ‘‘Be very afraid’: television and l'Insécurité in the 2002 French Presidential election’, European Journal of Communication, 20 (2): 181–218.

  20. Lewis-Beck, M. (1988) Economics and Elections, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

  21. Lewis-Beck, M. (1997) ‘Who's the chef? Economic voting under a dual executive’, European Journal of Political Research, 31: 315–325.

  22. Lewis-Beck, M. and Nadeau, R. (2004) ‘Dual governance and economic voting: France and the United States’, in M. Lewis-Beck (ed.) The French Voter. Before and After the 2002 Elections, Basingstoke and New York, Palgrave, pp. 136–154.

  23. Lewis-Beck, M. and Paldam, M. (2000) ‘Economic voting: an introduction’, Electoral Studies, 19 (2–3): 113–121.

  24. Lubbers, M., Gijsberts, M. and Scheepers, P. (2002) ‘Extreme right-wing voting in Western Europe’, European Journal of Political Research, 41 (3): 345–378.

  25. Mayer, N. (2002) Ces Français qui votent FN, Paris: Flammarion.

  26. Mudde, C. (2007) Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  27. Mueller, J. (1970) ‘Presidential popularity from Truman to Johnson’, American Political Science Review, 64: 18–34.

  28. Nannestad, P. and Paldam, M. (1997) ‘From the pocketbook of the welfare man: a pooled cross-section study of economic voting in Denmark, 1986–1992’, British Journal of Political Science, 27: 119–136.

  29. Perrineau, P. (1998) Le Symptôme Le Pen : radiographie des électeurs du Front national, Paris: Fayard.

  30. Perrineau, P. (2003) ‘La surprise lepéniste et sa suite législative’, in P. Perrineau and C. Ysmal (eds.) Le vote de tous les refus. Les élections élections présidentielle et législatives de 2002, Paris: Presses de Sciences-Po.

  31. Perrineau, P. and Ysmal, C. (eds.) (2003) Le vote de tous les refus. Les élections élections présidentielle et législatives de 2002, Paris: Presses de Sciences-Po.

  32. Powell, G.B. and Whitten, G. (1993) ‘A cross-national analysis of economic voting: taking account of the political context’, American Journal of Political Science, 37: 391–414.

  33. Swank, D. and Betz, H.-G. (2003) ‘Globalization, the welfare state and right-wing populism in Western Europe’, Socio-Economic Review, 1: 215–245.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Evans, J., Ivaldi, G. Forecasting the Extreme Right Vote in France (1984–2007). Fr Polit 6, 137–151 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1057/fp.2008.1

Download citation

Keywords

  • Extreme Right
  • election forecasting
  • economic models
  • VP function