Positive Prospects for the Left According to the Latest polls: A Probable Victory, But No “Pink Wave”

The latest poll published by the institute Ipsos/Logica Consulting, conducted on May 25th and 26th, indicated that the left is currently polling well above the Union pour un Mouvement Populaire (UMP) and its right-wing allies for the upcoming legislative elections. However, the results do not necessarily insure the “pink wave” to come, pink being the color of the main left-wing party, Parti Socialiste, of which President François Hollande is a member.

The parliamentary left parties (Parti Socialiste, Parti Radical de Gauche, Front de Gauche, Europe-Ecologie-Les-Verts and others), according to the latest poll, should gather around 45% of the vote if the legislative elections were to take place this week. On the other hand, the main right-wing parties (UMP, Nouveau Centre, Divers Droite and others) should gather around 35% of the votes.

However, without its traditional allies, the Parti Socialiste by itself only won 31% of the votes, not enough to obtain the absolute majority in the National Assembly. In this case, with only a relative majority, the Parti Socialiste would have to more heavily consider the opinion of its partner left-wing parties and will be forced to compromise much more than if the PS had a simple majority in the Assembly. No bill would pass without the left’s combined support. Even if parties like the Ecologists (Europe-Ecologie-Les-Verts, or EELV) or the far-left party Front de Gauche (FG) officially supported François Hollande for the second round of the presidential elections, there still exist many points of disagreement between the parties. This latest poll is therefore rather positive for François Hollande and the PS, but shows that their wishes for an absolute majority in the Assembly are looking more and more unlikely. The results for the legislative elections may end up being similar to the presidential elections: a short majority for the socialists.

If hypothetically placed in simply two groups, the right and the left, extremes included, the right-wing parties might gather 50% of the votes, and the left 46,5%. Nevertheless, several leaders of the UMP reasserted that there would be no alliance with the extreme-right party, the Front National (FN). The predicted results for the FN, 15% of voting intentions, are therefore good news for the PS since the success of the FN may threaten the position of the UMP in several districts. The extreme-right party can hope to see several of its candidates become representatives, but the traditional “anti-FN” reaction from moderate right and left parties, even now, should limit its expansion. Meanwhile, the left parties, even some of the most extremes, will probably support the PS candidates for the second rounds, in line with political tradition. In a constant slowdown, the Mouvement Démocrate (Modem), the more center party of François Bayrou, former candidate in the presidential elections, should get around 2% of the vote.

It is important to pay close attention to the fact that such polls, especially for the legislative elections, are not consistently useful indicators of the actual election results. The local strategies and traditions, together with the possibility of three candidates to confront each other in a district for the second round, can make results unpredictable. Unlike the Presidential election process, more than 2 candidates can move into the second round, as long as a candidate wins 12.5% of the registered voters of the region.

Even if the legislative elections results are similar to the presidential results in May, the local perspective of legislative elections differ slightly from the national results. The UMP members and supporters the hope for success, and maybe a victory, since Hollande’s majority was particularly small.

Several important figures of the UMP therefore expressed confidence, trying to override the recent dissensions about the new elected UMP leader that will need to be elected. Alain Juppé, former minister of Nicolas Sarkozy’s cabinet, said: “I feel among our activists, our supporters and our voters a will to win that which hasn’t weakened, which, by the way, surprises the new power”. Jean-Pierre Raffarin also expressed his confidence in the possibility of winning the legislative election. However, he acknowledged “a cohabitation (i.e. the opposition to the President possessing the majority in the Assembly) was unlikely, but not impossible”.

Another question raised by the new poll showed that a large majority of those questioned would not like to see a cohabitation, as it is perceived as a cause of instability. 56% opposed such a situation, and 36% wanted                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             a clear victory of the left parties and only 32% for a clear victory of the right. Nevertheless, 10 days remain before the elections, and, as Jean-Pierre Raffarin said, anything can happen.

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