With all results except overseas French in, centrist Emmanuel Macron has thrashed the far right Marine Le Pen by a 66.1-33.9 margin in yesterday’s French Presidential runoff election. Le Pen won only two of France’s 107 departments, and was buried by about 85-15 in Paris and its surrounds. In the first round, Macron had won 24.0% and Le Pen 21.3%. Supporters of other candidates gave Macron his huge runoff win.
The French polls had Le Pen too high. Final polls had Macron leading Le Pen by about 62-38, a 24-point margin, compared with the actual 32-point margin. Since Trump won the US Presidency, far right candidates and parties in Austria, the Netherlands and now France have underperformed final pre-election polls; they have also tended to drop in the polls in the last week or so before the election.
As US poll analyst Harry Enten tweeted, the French poll miss was greater than any US poll miss at the 2016 election. It is possible that European poll overestimation of the far right is due to a vocal minority who support Trump, while the “silent” majority detest Trump and are pro-European Union.
Turnout for the runoff was 74.6%, but 11.5% of those voters deliberately spoilt their ballot, so effective turnout was 66.1%, down from 75.8% in the first round. This drop probably reflects the hard left’s aversion to choosing between a centrist and a far right candidate.
Elections for the French lower house will be held on 11 and 18 June. The lower house has 577 members, elected using single member electorates in a two-round system. These elections are deliberately timed to occur in a new President’s honeymoon period, in an attempt to avoid divided government. Both the lower house and the President are elected for five year terms.
The key question about the lower house elections is whether Macron’s new party, En Marche! (Onward!), can win a lower house majority, making the Presidency easier for Macron.
I wrote about the Obamacare repeal vote and the UK local government elections on Saturday. Yesterday, four polls were released for the 8 June UK general election showing the Conservatives leading Labour by 15-19 points.
Tasmanian upper house elections and polling
The Tasmanian upper house has 15 members elected for six year terms by single-member electorates. Every May, two or three of these electorates hold elections. On Saturday, Murchison, Launceston and Rumney voted.
In Murchison, left wing incumbent Independent Ruth Forrest defeated conservative Independent Daryl Quilliam 56.6-43.4. In Launceston, centrist incumbent Independent Rosemary Armitage defeated the somewhat more left wing Independent Neroli Ellis 52.1-47.9. In Rumney, Labor’s Sarah Lovell defeated conservative incumbent Independent Tony Mulder 52.3-47.7.
Labor’s gain in Rumney gives them three upper house seats; prior to May 2016, Labor held only one seat. There are four left wing Independents, so the left now holds 7 of the 15 seats. Kevin Bonham says the left now effectively has a blocking majority on legislation.
A Tasmanian EMRS poll, conducted 29 April to 2 May with a sample of 1000, has the Liberals on 39% (up 4 since March), Labor on 34% (up 5), the Greens on 15% (down 4), Independents 7% (down 3) and One Nation 3% (down 3). Kevin Bonham’s interpretation, given known EMRS biases to the Greens and Independents and against Labor, is Liberals 41%, Labor 37%, Greens 12% and One Nation 3%.
A 12 Liberals, 10 Labor, 2 Greens split is likely based on this poll, with the final Lyons seat to determine whether the Liberals can just retain a majority. Tasmania’s lower house has 25 members, elected using the Hare Clark system with five 5-member electorates. A Tasmanian election is due by early next year, and will probably be held in March 2018.
The better Premier measure is a spectacular result for new Labor leader Rebecca White; she trails incumbent Will Hodgman by just 42-39, compared with Hodgman’s massive 52-20 lead in March over former Labor leader Bryan Green. However, voting intentions suggest Labor is gaining from the Greens, but not from the Liberals.
Essential at 53-47 to Labor
Labor led by 53-47 in last week’s Essential. Primary votes were 38% Coalition, 37% Labor, 9% Greens, 7% One Nation and 3% Nick Xenophon Team.
30% (up 7 since December 2016) thought the economy was good and 29% (down 7) thought it was poor. 41% thought the economy was headed in the wrong direction and 29% the right direction.
On most spending priorities, far more people thought the government should increase than reduce spending in tomorrow’s budget, but unemployed aid, military spending, foreign aid and business assistance were exceptions. People expected the budget to be good for the well-off and Australian business, but bad for everyone else.
Respondents were confident that Turnbull could deliver secure borders and tougher citizenship requirements, but not confident on other Turnbull promises, such as jobs and growth and a balanced budget. By 61-24, voters were not confident that Turnbull could deliver action on climate change.
66% thought voting should continue to be compulsory, with 27% wanting a change to voluntary voting. 58% said they would definitely vote if voting were voluntary, and another 22% said they would be likely to vote.
Authors: Adrian Beaumont, Honorary Associate, School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of Melbourne