(PRWEB) April 05, 2012
The latest issue of PS: Political Science and Politics, published by Cambridge Journals for the American Political Science Association, predicts the outcome of the French presidential election claiming that current incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy will lose.
An article from Martial Foucault and Richard Nadeau of the University of Montreal makes the bold prediction that Sarkozy will lose the May election by a small margin. In Forecasting the 2012 French Presidential Election, Foucault and Nadeau have adopted the French tradition of forecasting electoral results from political-economy models. Examining both local and national voting patterns in every election from 1981 to 2007 and using models that include economic factors (such as unemployment) as well as other political variables, they predict Sarkozy’s defeat in the second round.
It is widely acknowledged that Sarkozy faces a tough challenge. For the first time since 1981, when the right-wing president Valéry Giscard d’Estaing was defeated by the Socialist challenger François Mitterrand, the 2012 election takes place in difficult economic times. As the sitting president for the last five years, Sarkozy will likely be held accountable for the poor performance of the French economy. The large number of declared candidates from the Right running in the first round of the election is interpreted as a sign of the dissatisfaction with Sarkozy’s record among his own followers, and some speculate that he may not even get to the decisive second round.
The four-part article reviews the literature on French forecasting models, outlines the main features of the French electoral system, introduces Foucault and Nadeau’s model and the data examined and finally, discusses the predictions derived from this model, including their forecast for the 2012 election.
Setting themselves the question, “Is the victory of Sarkozy’s main challenger, the Socialist François Hollande, a foregone conclusion?”, Foucault and Nadeau have developed a forecasting model based on national data and data estimated from local départements, whose values were known several months before the election. Based on the results of this politico-economic model, they conclude that “Sarkozy will run a competitive fight but will ultimately lose … After 17 years of waiting, the return of a Socialist at the Élysée appears highly probable.”
Noting that forecasting models in France have previously accurately predicted the victories of Jacques Chirac in 1995 and François Mitterrand in 1981 and 1988, Foucault and Nadeau conclude that “the prediction that the next president of France will be a Socialist seems to rest on solid grounds, politically and statistically.”
Martial Foucault is an associate professor in the department of political science at the University of Montreal and director of the European Union Center for Excellence at the University of Montreal/McGill University. Richard Nadeau is a professor in the department of political science at the University of Montreal.
Published by Cambridge University Press for the American Political Science Association, PS: Political Science and Politics is hosted on cutting-edge digital platform, Cambridge Journals Online, and is published quarterly.
Notes for Editors
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PS: Political Science & Politics is the journal of record for the American Political Science Association (APSA) for political science reporting on research, teaching, and professional development. PS, first published in 1968, is the only quarterly professional news and commentary journal in the field and is the prime source of information on political scientists' achievements and professional concerns.
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