Are the results of the presidential elections already in the making in those of the polls that directly precede them? Nothing automatic about that if we look at what has taken place since the turn of the century.
One can, of course, answer it in the affirmative for the municipal elections of March 2001. The stall in the opinion of the popularity of the government of Lionel Jospin appears clearly there. Even if the PS wins two right-wing bastions, Paris and Lyon, it loses a large number of towns with more than 30,000 inhabitants. At the end of the ballot, the right controls 126 against 113 for the left. The gap is still clear if we go down to the level of municipalities with more than 15,000 inhabitants, with 259 for the left against 318 for the right. A year later, Lionel Jospin was eliminated on the evening of the first round of the 2002 presidential election.
It is quite different before the presidential election of 2007. The last elections which precede it are the regional ones of March 2004 and they end in a tidal wave in favor of the PS. The left conquered 20 of the 22 regions of the metropolis at the time, the right retaining only Alsace and Corsica. Three years later, however, Nicolas Sarkozy easily wins ahead of Ségolène Royal.
Yes for 2012
Conversely, the 2012 presidential election is preceded by a series of local elections which can be read as the promise of an announced victory since all are in favor of the left. In 2010, the right was defeated in all metropolitan regions, with the exception of Alsace, and it even saw Corsica escape it in favor of the regionalists. New confirmation of a fundamental movement on the occasion of the cantonal elections of 2011 (the current departmental elections): at the end of the ballot, the left is in the majority in 59 departments, against 41 for the right. This series ends in 2011 with the shift to the left of the Senate, a first under the Fifth Republic. All this was completed in 2012, with the election to the supreme office of François Hollande against Nicolas Sarkozy.
No for 2017
On the other hand, the results of the 2015 departmental and regional elections did not announce the conclusion of the 2017 presidential election. The two camps which still dominated the political life of the country shared the departmental presidencies in the spring, with a clear advantage to the right (67) against the PS and its allies (33). The FN is continuing its local establishment but only manages to elect 62 departmental councilors. In December, voters are called upon to nominate elected representatives from the regions, which are now down to 13 in mainland France. They give the majority to the right in seven of them, to the left in five others and to regionalists in the Corsican assembly. The FN seemed able to win in Paca and in Hauts-de-France, but the Republican front finally blocked its way. The right and the left of government will nevertheless be excluded from the second round of the 2017 presidential election in favor of Marine Le Pen and a certain Emmanuel Macron who was still only a minister at the time of the last regional elections, only 16 months before access the Élysée …
In conclusion, voters are mostly… unpredictable. If it happens that their vote in departmental and regional elections suggests their future choice in the presidential election, this is not systematic. Local issues can sometimes count as much in the color of their bulletin as their desire to sanction a team in place, whether at the helm of a local authority or at the top of the State. Predicting anything for the presidential election of 2022 in the light of the results of the polls of June 20 and 27 would therefore be risky to say the least.
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