French presidential election, 2012: all over for Mr Sarkozy?

19 April 2012

According to some reports, it is all over for Mr Sarkozy, and Mr Hollande will emerge victorious in the French presidential election, fought over two rounds. The gap in the opinion polls between Mr Sarkozy and Mr Hollande for the voting intentions for the second round has remained pretty wide at around 12%.

Whether this turns out to be true or not remains to be seen. I am not entirely sure how accurate the polls are, especially after what happened in 2002, when Mr Le Pen managed to come second in the first round of voting, despite the fact that Mr Jospin was a good few points ahead of Mr Le Pen, right until the voting day of the first round.

With the exception of 2002, the margin between the winning and losing candidates in the second round of voting has been relatively small for most recent presidential elections. If the 12% difference, i.e. a 56%-44% figure were to be reflected in the second round, then that would be a pretty dramatic result.

Previous second-round results:

1981: 51.76% (F Mitterrand) : 48.24% (V Giscard d’Estaing)

1988: 54.02% (F Mitterrand) : 45.98% (J Chirac)

1995: 52.46% (J Chirac) : 47.36% (L Jospin)

2002: 82.21% (J Chirac) : 17.79% (J-M Le Pen)

2007: 53.06% (N Sarkozy) : 46.94% (S Royal)

It will be interesting to see how the narratives – and perhaps fortune – change between the first round of voting on Sunday, and the second round.