French election results: Macron’s victory in the charts

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Emmanuel Macron, the independent pro-European centrist, emerged victorious in the presidential election against Marine Le Pen of the far-right National Front.

It was an election that divided France – and the first maps of the voting results give some insight into the respective hearts of the two candidates.

French presidential election victory margin

Polls of voters who took part in both rounds of voting show how allegiances have shifted from candidates eliminated in the first round to Macron and Le Pen.

Macron made huge gains, garnering the majority of supporters in the first round of the two left-wing candidates, Jean-Luc Mélenchon and Benoît Hamon. More surprisingly, Macron won nearly half of the votes of those who accompanied center-right candidate François Fillon in the first round.

Le Pen made most of his winnings in the second round from Fillon supporters and also got around 10% of Mélenchon supporters.

As expected, more than a third of Mélenchon’s supporters abstained, but that was not enough to hurt the president-elect.

Macron’s victory was greeted with a sigh of relief in Europe, where many saw it as a showdown for populist insurgencies across the continent. Where did he get his support from? Below, we analyze the factors that could have been at play.

Education

Education appears to be the strongest predictor of the Macron vote: the more people with a university degree in a region, the stronger the vote for the candidate.

This type of geographic analysis can fall under the ecological fallacy – just because we know the overall characteristics of a region’s population, we cannot be sure that the same attributes apply to those who voted – but in combination with the results of polling day surveys, this can provide useful information.

The graph below shows the counting areas grouped into deciles of the electorate, classified from least to most “educated” across France. The key relationship is between the share of votes for Macron (vertical axis) and the level of education attained (horizontal axis). The reverse is true for Le Pen, who got the most votes in areas where the level of education was relatively low.

This pattern echoes the findings of a Financial Times analysis on the predictors of the leave vote in the 2016 Brexit referendum, the US presidential election, and the recent Dutch election. In each of the plebiscites, education emerged as the best predictor of voting for a populist option, where less educated chose it more often than graduates.

However, as before, it is important to stress that education is often an indirect indicator of a set of beliefs and personal circumstances that affect an individual’s school choices and voting preferences.

Returned

First-round vote projections and research reported by the FT indicated that voters with higher incomes were more likely to vote for Macron. This trend reinforces the narrative of the presidential race as a battle of the haves against the have-nots, embodied respectively by Macron and Le Pen.

The data backs it up – to some extent. While regions with a higher median annual income were more likely to vote disproportionately for the centrist candidate, the income effect is canceled out when education is taken into account.

This makes sense – income tends to increase with education level. What’s more, people with higher incomes are more likely to live in urban areas, where other social factors come into play.

Like education, income was also a factor in the recent Dutch elections, in which poorer regions voted in proportionally higher numbers for populist Geert Wilders. This was also true in the UK referendum on the EU, where analysis suggested low-income voters were more likely to vote for the holiday.

Working class

After education, the percentage of working-class voters in a region was the biggest predictor of a vote for Ms. Le Pen. The category includes workers and low-skilled employees in the service sector.

Popular voters have become the center of Ms. Le Pen’s narrative, and workers in particular are often seen as establishment leftovers or victims of globalization.

However, the FT’s analysis of the result showed that the reality could be more complex. The proportion of working class voters in a region becomes statistically insignificant when education and age are taken into account.

This may be related to the fact that people with a university education are less likely to work in lower-skilled occupations and participation in higher education has increased in recent decades.

Note also that the demographics of blue-collar workers have a high percentage of immigrants than other employment sectors and these people are less likely to be able to vote.

Unemployment

Like low-income people, the unemployed have been portrayed by Le Pen as being left behind by globalization.

Interestingly, unemployment was a better indicator of a vote for Mélenchon in the first round than for Le Pen, and was a better indicator of a vote against Macron in the first round than in the second, indicating a divided electorate who fell apart. rallied to Macron. .

Additionally, unemployment, while statistically significant nationwide, was not associated with the Le Pen vote in urban areas. As the results in Paris, Lyon and Рto a lesser extent Marseille Рillustrated, Le Pen experienced difficulties in cities, with their low incomes, with the unemployed being more likely to vote for Mr. M̩lenchon. in the first round.

Well-being and pessimism

Polls of second-round voters have shown that Le Pen supporters tend to be more pessimistic about the future. They have a much darker view of the prospects for the next generation than those who vote for Macron.

Similar results have been described in a study by Luc Rouban, professor at Sciences Po Cevipof. He showed that the Perception being worse off than your parents contributed more to the propensity to vote Le Pen than an objective state of being.

Life expectancy

The vote for Macron was higher in regions where people tend to live longer. At first glance, the mechanism behind this relationship may seem unclear, but recent research suggests that we can learn a lot.

There is a growing school of thought that measures of health, including life expectancy, can be used as indicators of precision for imprecise concepts such as well-being and pessimism, allowing people to researchers identify social disruption without resorting to large-scale surveys and self-reported measures.

This allows us to interpret the positive relationship between life expectancy and the Macron vote as further evidence that general well-being and a positive outlook on life lead voters to reject Le Pen’s calls for negative emotions, and instead vote for a candidate with a more positive message.

Immigration

Although the FT’s analysis found no correlation between the number of immigrants in a region and the share of the vote for Le Pen, polls have consistently shown that Le Pen’s supporters are likely to view immigration as a key issue. The national debate around the refugee crisis and the terrorist attacks that rocked France over the past two years played a key role in the outcome.

This reflects the situation of the UK referendum on the EU, where data suggests that strong negative attitudes towards immigrants were not only a key indicator of the likelihood of a voter voting for the Leave campaign, but a key indicator of his probability of voting.

Motivations of protest

As expected, the more left the voter leans, the greater the preference for Macron. But there was one exception to this rule: Surveys of second-round voters found that a higher proportion of those who identified themselves as having political views on the “far left” supported Le Pen than those who identified themselves as simply “left” or “left”. leaning “.

This conforms to the emerging model of a realignment of Western politics from the traditional left-right spectrum to an ideological battle between the establishment (center) and the extremes.

Age

Age was a key dividing line in the UK referendum on the EU and the US presidential election, with young voters supporting Remain and Hillary Clinton respectively, but in France this pattern has been reversed.

Although it should be noted that Macron won over 50 percent of the vote in all A broad age group, Le Pen does better with voters aged 35 to 49 and secured 34% of the vote among 18-24 year olds, slightly above his total share among all voters. On the other hand, she won only 27% of the votes among those over 65.

This trend reversal seen in the UK and US can be explained by two factors: first, young people in France are frustrated with the lack of jobs and the poor economic outlook, with some seeing a vote for Le Pen as a vote against the system that created these conditions.

And secondly, these same younger voters are less familiar with the openly xenophobic party that was the National Front of the 1970s. The previous incarnation of the FN still leaves a bitter taste with many older generations, who voted in this direction on Sunday. .

Macron’s broad appeal against Le Pen’s narrower base of support

Examining the 500 geographic areas in which Le Pen and Macron each performed best reveals how the former FN candidate struggled to find favor outside of her base. Areas with very low populations have been removed to limit their potential to bias the analysis.

Le Pen’s best performances have come almost exclusively in areas with low education. Across the country, she did not beat Macron in a commune where more than 39.7% of the population had a university degree.

While Macron performed better than Le Pen in higher middle-income townships, he was able to win votes in low-income areas as well. The lowest median income in a municipality where Mr. Macron earned was, perhaps surprisingly, lower than the equivalent figure for Le Pen: € 11,761 versus € 13,022. No municipality with a median income of more than € 33,106 has cast more than 50% of its votes in favor of Ms. Le Pen.

A similar pattern has emerged with blue collar workers – a demographic that should prove disproportionate for Le Pen. She was only able to win in municipalities where at least 14.7% of workers held blue-collar jobs, and fared much better than Macron in municipalities where a large part of the workforce occupies unskilled positions.



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