“Emmanuel Macron’s management of Covid-19 has found an echo in some popular circles”

A week before the first round of the presidential elections, Sunday, April 10. He is co-author, with Jean-Laurent Cassely, of France before our eyes. Economy, landscapes, new ways of life (Limit).

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Princess: We hear a lot of calls for a “useful vote” right now, whether on the left or the far right, to make sure you get your candidate against Emmanuel Macron to the runoff. What impact do you think polls have on voting (and therefore on the effectiveness of these calls)?

A large majority of voters are determined according to their party affiliation and their convictions that guide their choice towards this or that candidate. But a section of the electorate also adopts a more “strategic” and you can modify your initial choice regarding the balance of power and campaign dynamics.

In this context, the polls constitute a useful indicator for this segment of the electorate that, on occasion, will lead them to decide on a candidate who is driven by dynamics and who may have a chance of qualifying for the second round. The polls then come to maintain the dynamic. This is what is happening on the left around Jean-Luc Mélenchon and in the field of the national right in favor of Marine Le Pen, at the end of the campaign.

Rillette: What part of Mr Macron’s electorate is represented by the working class? What are her arguments for her to vote for him?

In our voting intentions, Emmanuel Macron is currently at 16% among workers (vs. 15% in 2017) and 23% (vs. 18% in 2017) among employees. It is not in the popular electorate where he has the most support (he “aims” for 38% among executives, for example), but there he has preserved an important base. We can think that his management of Covid-19 with the “whatever is needed” he found an echo in part of the popular circles, some of which no doubt also voted for him out of a legitimist reflex, amplified by the Ukrainian crisis.

Zedd: Having to work until the age of 65 for the working classes means for many that retirement will necessarily go through the unemployment fund or even the RSA (and therefore will be subject to conditions of activity). Mrs. Le Pen, by announcing the non-retirement of retirement, seems the best placed to conquer more among the working classes. Isn’t there fear of forming a bloc, all but Macron?

Macron’s announcement of the project to increase the retirement age to 65 is undoubtedly a bad signal sent to this electorate which, as all our polls show, is the most opposed to raising the retirement age. Marine Le Pen, although evolving on this issue, rushed into this breach by posing as the representative of the “France from below” and popular categories. This positioning ” social “ (with special attention to purchasing power and the reduction of VAT), together with its traditional discourse on immigration and insecurity, places it in a very favorable situation in these circles, with a vote intention of 28% among employees and the 38% among manual workers.

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Snow BBQ: Do we know how the working class perceives Mr Macron, especially with his words and his attitude towards her?

If it has been said that a fringe of the working classes was about to vote for him, this should not mask the fact that this population is the one that acquires the least for him. Many, rightly or wrongly, perceive in him and some of his lieutenants a form of class contempt and alienation. This sentiment was clearly expressed during the “yellow vest” crisis, for example.

Some also criticize him for a policy at the service of “powerful” (This is the criticism directed at the “president of the rich”), but when you dig a little deeper, you see a cultural divide. Emmanuel Macron and his followers are perceived in a whole section of popular circles as “the festival of good students, of those who have succeeded” and who look with great condescension “those who are nothing” where the “illiterate”, to use the terms used by the President. anglicisms – “start-up nation”, “benchmark evaluator”, etc. – maintain this cultural gap and this resentment.

Scipio: Do ​​the working classes vote proportionally less than the middle classes?

Yes, abstentionism is traditionally higher in popular circles than among the middle classes, and a fortiori than among the CSP+. The mobilization of the working classes is therefore a central theme for Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, many of whose supporters come precisely from these circles. The leader of La France insoumise is not mistaken and hammers out a slogan from May ’68, which he has hijacked: “Abstain, you stupid trap! » The frontista candidate, for her part, privileges in her field trips the popular areas where she has electoral strength, to mobilize her supporters as much as possible and convince them to go to the polls.

Annso: How do you explain the new approach, in any case more dynamic, of the voters of the extreme left with those of the extreme right? What element made the boundary between these two groups porous?

Beware of this idea, repeated so many times, according to which “extremes meet or merge”. When we look at the voting intention figures, this phenomenon must be put into perspective. In the event of a Macron-Le Pen duel in the second round, only 23% of Melenchonist voters would vote for Le Pen, and in the event of a Macron-Mélenchon duel, 19% of Zemmour voters and 32% of Le Pen would vote for the “rebellious” candidate. It’s nothing, but it’s not a mainstream trend.

We can think that these reports “against nature” It would be motivated by an anti-system reflex and by a very strong hostility towards Macron. In the case of Lepenista voters, the not inconsiderable level of reporting on Mélenchon could also be explained by the fact that Mélenchon’s chances of winning are low, these voters could give Macron the red card without taking too many risks.

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Brujanyc: What is your definition of “popular classes”? How many voters belong to the popular classes? Are the popular classes mobilizing for the presidential election? How are the votes of the working classes distributed among the different candidates?

The usual definition of the popular classes encompasses the social group made up of employees and workers (plus retirees who exercised these professions). Workers and employees represent somewhat less than 30% of the electorate, to which must be added the 15% corresponding to retirees from these trades. Therefore, these popular classes carry a lot of weight, if they participate in the vote, because, as we have said, they tend to abstain much more than other social groups. Among those who intend to vote, Marine Le Pen is in the lead (33%), followed by Emmanuel Macron (19%) and Jean-Luc Mélenchon (18%).

Pascal: If Emmanuel Macron is re-elected, do you think the risk is strong that we will find the “yellow vests” in September?

It is difficult and presumptuous to make political fiction! But if he is re-elected, Emmanuel Macron has declared that he wants to present to Parliament, in early summer, his pension reform, a highly flammable issue. It will be remembered that his previous attempt at reform had resulted in a fifty-five-day strike at SNCF and RATP, and that this conflict had only really ended with the arrival of Covid-19, in March 2020.

The same causes can produce the same effects, knowing that the situation is extremely deteriorated on the purchasing power front, with, in particular, an increase in fuel prices. A liter of gasoline was at 1.40 euros when the “yellow vests” crisis broke out; Today it is around 2 euros.

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Carmen: What is the average abstention of the working classes in the last fifteen years?

It is quite variable. But on average, there is a 10% to 15% higher abstention rate in working-class circles than in the rest of the population.

X: In the context of a second round against Ms. Le Pen or Mr. Mélenchon, could Mr. Macron succeed in mobilizing a popular electorate that abstained in the first round?

According to our surveys (which, let us remember, are not predictive), in the event of a Macron-Le Pen duel, only 45% of employees and 33% of workers would vote for the outgoing president. In order to impose itself in these circles, it will have to try to mobilize the abstentionists. The argument of a victory for the extreme right will undoubtedly serve to try to get votes, especially in popular circles of immigrant origin, which are very abstinent.

Tal974: Do you think that the red rag waved by Macron regarding the extreme right is an audible and effective message to voters in the popular electorate who lean towards Zemmour or Le Pen?

This “red cloth”, as you say, it is not intended for the electorate that today leans towards Zemmour or Le Pen. This threat of victory of the extreme right is wielded and invoked in the direction of the many left-wing voters who today would not consider practicing the famous “republican front” and who would rather abstain than vote for Macron.

The prospect of a victory for Le Pen, a hypothesis based on the results of the current second round, which places the frontist candidate at 46-47% – which is very high – points to “defrost” the reserves of votes of the left in favor of Emmanuel Macron, reserves that seem, this year, more difficult to mobilize.

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Little Leaf: I wonder about the vote of working-class residents in so-called “sensible” neighborhoods. I have often observed that they are almost never present at rallies on issues such as the climate problem, issues related to the harassment of women or current issues such as support for Ukraine, which nevertheless unites most of the parties. It seems he doesn’t care.

As we have just said, the population of immigrant origin and resident in working-class neighborhoods generally abstain massively. Jean-Luc Mélenchon tries to mobilize it for his benefit, in particular with a door-to-door campaign led by his activists, but it is difficult.

We had noted an increase in turnout in these neighborhoods between the two rounds of the 2017 presidential election, where the prospect of a victory for the “Kärcher Candidate” (Nicolas Sarkozy) had mobilized an important part of these voters. But it was more of a reaction than a real adherence. We can imagine it will be the same this year.

See the comparator: Compare the programs of the main candidates

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