Can the New Popular Ecological and Social Union (Nupes) tilt the National Assembly to the left in the legislative elections of June 12 and 19? This coalition, which brings together the main left-wing parties (LFI, PS, EELV, PCF), promises cohabitation with Emmanuel Macron, by installing as Prime Minister Jean-Luc Mélenchon, third in the first round of the presidential election, on 10 april.
“When you see the results of the presidential election, it’s possible,” said LFI deputy from the North, Adrien Quatennens, at the end of April. The results of Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the various constituencies, it is 425 constituencies where we are able to be in the second round, we can build this majority. »
To what extent can the results of the votes of the first round of the presidential election be projected onto the legislative elections? Even if we have these results in each of the legislative constituencies, deducing the results of 577 separate elections based on the election of the President of the Republic is more than risky.
“We cannot apply the results of a national election to 577 constituencies, because the balance of power in the first round of the presidential election is not mechanically the one we will have in the legislative elections”, recalls Mathieu Gallard, director of studies at Ipsos. In the 2017 presidential election, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen led the first round of presidential elections in 216 constituencies. A few weeks later, the National Front had barely capitalized on this historic score by sending only eight deputies to the National Assembly, an insufficient number to compose a parliamentary group (15 deputies).
Even if there is a very strong national dimension to the legislative elections, the local presence of candidates can change the situation. In the 8th district of Essonne, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan has been re-elected deputy for twenty-five years. In 2017, despite 4.70% of the presidential vote, he was comfortably re-elected against the Macronist candidate. Similarly, in the 3rd constituency of Aisne, the socialist deputy Jean-Louis Bricout was re-elected easily in 2017 while the PS, a few weeks earlier, had made a historically weak performance in the presidential election.
The electoral offer “was however well nationalized”, tempers Tristan Haute, lecturer in political science at the University of Lille:
“It is true that some well-established politicians can resist in their constituency, but the idea that there is a form of bonus for local elected officials should be put into perspective, especially since 2017, with the collapse of the PS and the Republicans, which should continue. »
Since 2002, the advent of the five-year term and the reversal of the electoral calendar, never has the delay between presidential and legislative elections been so long. Who will benefit from these two extra weeks of campaigning? To the presidential party once Emmanuel Macron has fully launched his second term? Left-wing or far-right oppositions?
For the moment, it is the “rebellious” who, with the Nupes, have managed to install the idea of a united left ready to fight against the president – while Marine Le Pen (National Rally) has just launched its campaign. “The emergence of the union of the left in the wake of the presidential election gives this alliance two additional weeks to lead a dynamic, confirms political scientist Bruno Cautrès, researcher at the Center for the Study of French Political Life (Cevipof). If the Nupes is united and develops its campaign themes, this could have an impact at the polls. »
However, this dynamic did not exist during the presidential election since the now allies of the Nupes had presented four candidates, making, in fact, hazardous any attempt to compare the past ballot and the ballot to come. You can’t just add their scores to predict what the “Nupes” candidate will do in June.
What about the left-wing candidates who refused this agreement (NPA, LO, etc.), or those of the far-right lists (RN and Reconquête!, etc.) which can scatter the electorate? “A dissident [in a party] can cause a candidate to lose 2% or 3%, and potentially prevent him from reaching the second round,” insists Mr. Gallard. It remains to be seen whether this phenomenon will be marginal. Because being in dissent from your party is not easy, as Mr. Cautrès reminds us: “It means breaking away from your party, and campaigning without its human, logistical and financial means. »
The discrepancy between the levels of electoral participation between the presidential election and the legislative elections further distorts the calculations. “Historically, there is a demobilization in all the electorates during the legislative elections”, explains Mathieu Gallard.
For several years, abstention in the legislative elections has continued to increase, illustrating the growing disinterest of the French in this election. In 2017, 57% of registered voters did not vote, breaking a record since 1958. “Abstention, however, remains lower among victorious electorates, hence the beneficial effect for the presidential majority”, however the director of studies at Ipsos. The voters of La République en Marche (LRM) are sociologically those who are most likely to be mobilized for their candidate.
On the left, in particular, abstention is a key issue, and the remobilization of voters is not an easy task. “The decline observed for twenty years concerns in particular young people and the working classes, segments of the population who are favorable to Jean-Luc Mélenchon, hence the need for them to remobilize around a clear issue”, advances Tristan Haute .
The political agreement on the left restores an appeal to the legislative elections, often perceived as a pale electoral deadline in the line of the presidential election. However, questions remain after the formation of the Nupes: will this alliance be perceived as that of the union of the left? Will the centre-left electorate support the alliance, or end up in the presidential majority?
Finally, the issue of the carryover of votes will be an essential component of the ballot. But it is currently impossible to predict. This is also “the current problem with polls”, notes Mr. Haute, who calls for taking the polls on the number of deputies with caution: “It is risky to make projections by seat, because that would amount to deducing the outcome of the second round, but this will depend on the participation and organization of duels or triangular. »
Little chance, however, of attending triangular (three candidates who remain in the second round). To advance to the second round, a candidate must obtain a number of votes equal to 12.5% of registered voters. Or 25% of the vote if the abstention is 50%, as in 2017. That same year, only one triangular had taken place in the second round in the 1st constituency of Aube. “But depending on the campaign dynamics, voter mobilization can have a different effect,” Gallard cautions.