#frenchelection

Twitter – Macron 66%, Le Pen 34%; Facebook – Macron 53%, Le Pen 47%

IMG_0575.PNGFor once the polls seem to reflect the Twitter stats. Since the first round, Macron has accumulated 66% of the Twitter follower growth vs 34% for Le Pen. Facebook follower growth on the same metric puts Le Pen at 47% of the growth vs Macron at 53%, As we gleaned from the first round, Macron had the third highest number of followers on Twitter but the fastest growth, with Le Pen 2nd. Twitter seemed to forecast better than Facebook.

IMG_0576When her father ran in 2002, Jean Marie Le Pen garnered only 17.9% of the second round. It would seem Marine Le Pen should double that number. That in and of itself is a massive shot across the bows of the establishment. Of course a Macron victory will be viewed by the EU as an endorsement when there could be nothing further from the truth.

We only need to see Tusk & Merkel’s slapdown of Juncker over Brexit in recent days to show the disharmony within the inner sanctum. Have you seen the latest Greek  bail-out negotiations? Talk about surrendering sovereignty to Brussels. Note the Conservatives gained 558 council seats in local elections this weekend by taking voters back from UKIP, which lost all but one of the 115 seats the party contested and Labour surrendering 320 seats, a margin which if replicated on June 8 will hand Theresa May a healthy majority. Brits want a hard Brexit not one built on compromises.

While there is some cachet in voting in the ‘youth’ in France we only need to look at Canada to see what an utter disaster Trudeau has been. His ratings are falling like a stone as Opposition Leader Rona Ambrose makes regular mince meat of him in Parliament. View any of their debates in parliament and Trudeau can’t string two sentences together.

In any event, markets should breathe a sigh of relief at a Macron victory although they’re pricing that already. Note that he is likely to be far more Trudeau than Alexander the Great and for France that will likely mean more of the same which will only give Le Pen far a better chance in 2022.

When electoral maps speak much more than 1,000 words you’ll clearly get the picture

One thing that has struck me when looking at before and after electoral maps it is the clear signs of the growing divide of the haves and have nots. Of course people vote but imagine if land mass was the decider it would be a no contest. It is almost as if there is a bubonic plague spreading throughout many nations, especially Europe.

FRANCE (2017)- Le Pen’s first round in Dark Blue, Melenchon in Red, Macron in Grey

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FRANCE (2002) Presidential first round (Jean Marie Le Pen in Dark Blue, Jacques Chirac light blue and Lionel Jospin in Pink

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BREXIT (2016)- in blue – how many Labour safe areas turned against the party  line

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UK election (1997) – Labour Party (Red), Tory (Blue)

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ITALY (2016)- referendum – the redder the stronger the NO vote (generally denotes poorer areas of Italy)

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USA (2016)- Trump’s GOP in Red

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USA (2008) – Obama in Blue, McCain in Red

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AUSTRIA (2017) – Presidential election – Right wing Hofer in Blue, Socialist van der Bellen in green (the winner)

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HUNGARIAN REFERENDUM ON MIGRANTS (2016) – Redder the zone the higher the NO vote

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THE NETHERLANDS (2017) – election – Wilders’ VVD in blue

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History of Dutch elections – VVD (Wilders) in blue

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Le Pen vs Macron – Post election followers

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Several days ago I noted that the Twitter following of Emmanuel Macron had experienced the strongest follower growth with Marine Le Pen in second. That was the result. On Facebook the growth differential had Macron in 3rd. Looking at the outcome of the day before the election and the day after the result we see that Macron grew 30,251 followers vs Le Pen’s 20,644. On Facebook we see that Le Pen has grown 41,279 and Macron 30,996 although as a percentage, Macron has grown 12% vs 3% for Le Pen.

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In any event, Twitter was more accurate and Macron would seem to carry the advantage. One thing we can say is that the establishment has been thumped again. Surely Eurocrats will breathe a sigh of relief but it is somewhat irrelevant. The outcome of May 7 will have no bearing on the ultimate demise of the EU. If the EU is constantly having to fight fires to justify its legitimacy it is clearly not deserved to rule the continent. Will keep tabs on the lead up to May 7. At this stage advantage Macron if we assume Twitter is more accurate.

Melenchon could well do this

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Jean-Luc Melenchon may seem to be the polar opposite of Marine Le Pen but my bet is that the run off in the French presidential election is between these two and the left-wing candidate may end up the next President of the Republique. Social media feeds have these two well out in front. To the French voter they both bring the promise of ending decades of high unemployment (especially youth) and ‘nationalist’ fervor. Both are anti-EU. Melenchon wants to pull France out of NATO. Melenchon is not dissimilar to Le Pen on immigration either suggesting he’d want to bring in 10,000 doctors rather than unlimited migration which he openly says steals French jobs. Melenchon is anti-Merkel and her Eurozone policies. He wants a 100% tax on salaries over 400,000 euro and bump minimum wages 16%. He wants to be 100% renewable by 2050 promising 100,000s of green jobs in the process which have shown elsewhere (e.g, Australia) to fall well short. Either way the markets are not pricing a polar outcome. If either wins, it is a loss for the EU although expect Juncker to champion it as a victory for the club if Melenchon is anointed.

Le Pen has had much longer to form her base. She speaks eloquently, forcefully and carries a consistent policy line unlike Fillon or Macron who have shifted stance with the wind. People who are struggling around the world are seen tiring of spineless bureaucrats. Traditional party lines are increasingly irrelevant. They want a reversal of fortune not served a buffet of convenient lies which in no way reflects the life they struggle with everyday. Melenchon is not removed from this phenomenon. Nor is Le Pen.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Melenchon is channeling his Beppo Grillo than Hugo Chavez. I can see his appeal to the battler. The question is whether the French people, should they be given these two to choose between on May 7, stay at home in abject apathy or tap their inner-revolutionary to carry the tricolor. Melenchon maybe trailing on social media feeds but his growth is faster than Le Pen, something that was striking in the US election.

The only certainty in my view is another torpedo to the hull of Brussels, the viability of the euro project and the euro itself. That will only play in Theresa May’s favour on June 8. Think of the French presidential election much like the national rugby team. They play hot or cold and you can never be sure until the whistle blows.

When the dust settles I will be fascinated to see which areas vote which way. Let’s accept the views from both Le Pen and Melenchon are broadly similar (although getting there will be totally different) so the vote may swing to how sick and tired French are becoming of giving up their freedoms.

Social media & Paris shooting impact on French Presidential Election followers

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Another senseless premeditated murder in Paris. Condolences to the family. This isn’t to be accepted as a normal way of life for the French. At a time when the French Presidential election looms social media following and activity jumped. Looking at the impacts of Facebook followers after the event saw the above increases. Interestingly on Twitter, Macron saw an 8,000 jump, Melenchon around 6,200 and Le Pen apporoximately 5,700. Le Pen still holds a commanding lead in both social media forums over Melenchon. Likes and shares are relatively even between the two top runners. Unlike opinion polls which ask maybe 1,000 people, social media platform growth does give an underlying sense of mood. Le Pen’s lead should be cause for concern in certain quarters. Financial markets seem glued to opionion polls and group think. Fillon is calling for a suspension of the election. Sad to see politicians use a murder as political capital to salvage some extra campaign days.

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Is it any wonder the natives are restless? Part time employment is growing too fast

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The alarm bells keep jangling. I remember reporting on why I thought Trump would win the presidency more than12 months before the fact. The employment situation defied the stats which the Democrats continually congratulated themselves over. Yet beneath that poverty was at all time highs, people on food stamps had grown 12mn since 2008 (to 46mn) and the number of people working more than one job was a record 8mn. The gap between the haves and have nots just kept getting bigger.

Stratfor wrote in the similar outcome in Europe today,

About six in ten jobs in the European Union today are full-time permanent positions. But jobs offered under part-time and temporary contracts account for an increasing share of total employment. In 2003, well before Europe’s economic crisis, 15 percent of workers in the European Union were employed under part-time contracts. By 2015, that had risen to 19 percent. During the same period, temporary contracts rose from 9 percent of total employment to 11 percent. Temporary jobs offer less security than even part-time permanent ones. They often come with lower salaries and fewer training and career advancement opportunities, making it harder for workers to access credit, plan their consumption decisions or qualify for unemployment benefits.”

One other glaring stat that sent shockwaves was the sharp increase in public sector employment. Even Germany saw public service jobs expand from 9% in 2001 to over 16% in 2013. Every EU country with the exception of France (ironically) exhibits the same state built employment market which masks the disastrous economic stewardship since GFC. Please refer to page 13 of this report for graphic.

Stratfor goes on to say,

“Job security is also tied to workers’ overall satisfaction. Since the start of the 2008 crisis, many Europeans have been forced to accept temporary contracts or permanent part-time jobs when they would rather work on a full-time, permanent basis. In many cases, the part-time or temporary contracts do not offer a path to full-time work. In some countries, low salaries also put the working poor at risk of falling into poverty. Jobs that do not offer much security can be found almost everywhere in the European Union, but they are particularly prevalent in the south, such as Greece, Spain and Portugal, where the unemployment crisis was more severe and the economic recovery more fragile. In addition, the structure of the economy in Southern Europe is more conducive to the creation of such precarious jobs.”

Whether one likes it or not the appeal of Le Pen in France is not a mere lurch to xenophobia. If you rationally listen to her platform outside her stance against Islam she makes salient points on policy that will make citizens feel safer about their economic future. The UK Labour Party totally misread Brexit and now face total wipeout on June 8. Like we know from many recent polls they are prone to enormous swings. The Twitter correlations of Trump, Brexit, Trudeau picked the winner. Le Pen is way in front although growth in followers since yesterday puts Melenchon top with Fillon second. Le Pen’s growth came in 3rd. However Facebook following puts Le Pen over 400,000 clear of her nearest rival, Melenchon.

The weird trend in global politics is that traditional party lines are fraying. The Aussie Liberal Party which I’ve supported religiously since I could vote no longer represents me. People are growing tired of empty promises or politicians that swing toward a stance to capture a wave when it contradicts previous policy. Le Pen, like Pauline Hanson speaks a consistent language. Whether one thinks certain policies are bigoted, racist or un-PC is irrelevant to a growing number. They want results not platitudes. These voters are prepared to sacrifice some unpalatable views in return for someone they feel they can trust in matters most important to them – put simply financial security.

If the world economy was ticking along so nicely we wouldn’t see the likes of Le Pen, Hanson or Trump. The reality is simple, when they draw the curtains each morning they see approaching storm clouds get closer and closer not the blue sky they crave.