Though we are buying the French Dip, that is the sell-off over worries of a Le Pen presidency in France, the latest poll cited by today’s Economist does make us a little nervous. We saw in November how unpredictable an angry electorate can be.
Don’t forget the Bradley effect when candidates such as Trump and Le Pen are on the ballot. Voters are embarrassed to admit in public, to pollsters, they are voting for the pariah candidate. In the private of the polling booth, however, they throw the “Molotov cocktail” at the system that angers them.
Further fuelling voters’ anger is their anguish at the state of France (see article). One poll last year found that French people are the most pessimistic on Earth, with 81% grumbling that the world is getting worse and only 3% saying that it is getting better. Much of that gloom is economic. France’s economy has long been sluggish; its vast state, which absorbs 57% of GDP, has sapped the country’s vitality. A quarter of French youths are unemployed. Of those who have jobs, few can find permanent ones of the sort their parents enjoyed. In the face of high taxes and heavy regulation those with entrepreneurial vim have long headed abroad, often to London. But the malaise goes well beyond stagnant living standards. Repeated terrorist attacks have jangled nerves, forced citizens to live under a state of emergency and exposed deep cultural rifts in the country with Europe’s largest Muslim community. – Economist
Even with the Bradley effect, Macron leads Le Pen in the second round polls by 15-20 percent. That is a lot to make up.