Poverty and education level paint on French electoral map – 04/12/2022 at 20:04


by Leigh Thomas

PARIS (Reuters) – The regions where Emmanuel Macron has achieved his worst marks are those where a concentrated population whose purchasing power has been hardest hit by rising inflation, shows an analysis of the results on the first tour of the presidential election conducted by Reuters.

Marine Le Pen’s anti-system discourse echoes a particular resonance in regions with large numbers of non-graduates, where life expectancy is lower and crime rates are higher.

The photo of the vote in the first round suggests that the outgoing president has the greatest difficulty of convincing beyond the urban and educated middle class that comprises his electoral base.

If Emmanuel Macron leads Marine Le Pen with 27.8% of the vote against 23.2% on Sunday, the map of results shows the two are more divided in France.

To try to identify the factors that most weigh the poll outcome, Reuters used an algorithm called the “decision tree forest” that allows ranking of 45 economic and demographic behaviors according to their relevance to the marks obtained by the candidates in each department.

As with the 2017 presidential election, living standards and education played an important role in the French vote, while the question of purchasing power reigned at the end of the election campaign.

Even if measures taken by the French government, such as freezing the price of electricity or reducing the price of fuel at the pump, limited the rise in inflation compared to other European countries, the regions where the weakest concentrate population voted more for. Marine Le Pen.

On average, 12.7% of the residents of the departments that put Emmanuel Macron ahead of Marine Le Pen live below the poverty line, while this rate has risen to 16% in the departments where the National Rally candidate leads. .

The outgoing president also achieved shorter scores in departments where the unemployment rate is higher and the standard of living is lower, indicating that the support measures taken by the government have not convinced those most in need. of it.

While official statistics show that the gross disposable income of the French has risen during the five -year term, the rise in inflation over the past six months, and fears that it will accelerate further, have fueled the opposite sentiment. to many voters. .

Marine Le Pen was the candidate most focused in his campaign on the issue of purchasing power, abandoning his usual themes of immigration and security, to a media space filled with suggestions on these themes from his opponent severe right Eric Zemmour.

This strategy bore fruit, despite moving at the end of the campaign on the part of popular voters in favor of Jean-Luc Mélenchon, and the RN candidate showed that he also intended to make this theme landmark in the second round.

The factor that best follows the contours of the Lepenist vote is life expectancy, which is often used as a barometer of economic and social well -being.

Women born in 2021 can expect to live an average of a year longer in the departments where Emmanuel Macron won than in those where Marine Le Pen defeated him, according to Reuters calculations.

At the same time, the life expectancy of the woman in the two departments where the National Rally candidate achieved her best marks-Aisne and Pas-de-Calais-was two years below the national average.

It is no coincidence that Emmanuel Macron took the direction of Hauts-de-France on Monday, to try out his first campaign trip between the two rounds to convince the residents of Denain, Carvin or Lens that he could improve their situation. in life.

Other factors related to the vote in favor of Marine Le Pen include the number of violent robberies and the low rate of graduates from higher education.

Thus, almost 30% of Aisne residents, where the far -right candidate got 39% of the votes cast in the first round, did not qualify, against 21% at the national level.

The equation for the second round includes more uncertainty, especially the attitude of Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s voters, also from the popular classes that are moving especially in his favor in the Paris region.

The rebel candidate, who is also at the forefront of the social question, after starting a campaign focusing on ecology, got almost 50% of the vote in Seine-Saint-Denis, the country’s poorest department, with a population. immigrant. exceeding 30% seems unlikely to support Marine Le Pen, but no more Emmanuel Macron if he can’t make the election anything but a “dam” against extreme rights.

Because other characteristics of Seine -Saint -Denis – such as typical departments with large poor populations – are record abstention rates, the highest in the country after Corsica.

(Reporting by Leigh Thomas, French version Tangi Salaün)

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