Blank ballots could account for nearly a third of all votes in the upcoming French Presidential election. Blank voting is similar in effect to Nevada’s “none of the above” that voters can pick on election day.
France still will have a runoff election later on May 3rd if no candidate gets over 50% on April 23rd, but the race is so fluid that no one really knows what is going to happen on the first round of voting. Most polling shows a Macron-Le Pen race in France.
Some polling has shown that two thirds of all voters are voting “none of the above” or don’t know who they are voting for yet.
Opinion polls show around a third of France’s 45.7 million voters might abstain, an unprecedented number in a country with a long tradition of high turnouts. Even among those who intend to vote, about one third have yet to make up their mind on how to cast their ballot.
Reasons range from disgust over scandals involving established politicians to dislike among many voters of all the candidates’ personalities or platforms. Added to this is simple confusion: what once looked like a straightforward two-horse race between conservative Francois Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen has produced many surprises.
With voters’ intentions so fluid, four candidates are now in with a fighting chance of coming first and second in the April 23 first round, thereby qualifying for the runoff on May 7. By contrast, support for the candidate of the ruling Socialists has collapsed.
All this has cast extra doubt over a campaign whose unpredictability is unnerving financial markets.
Delaplane, 81, is among those agonizing over how to vote. “I just can’t choose. I’ve never seen a campaign like this,” she said as she waited to catch a glimpse of Fillon at a rally in the town of Provins, a conservative stronghold east of Paris.
For dental technician-turned-painter Herve Gass, the entire field is unappealing. “I’m in a complete bind,” he said at his studio in an historic part of Provins. “I’ve been put off politics like never before.”
Gass, 63, previously voted conservative but said he had gone off Fillon due to the scandal, while he regarded Le Pen as too radical and 39-year-old Macron as too young and untested. As a result, Gass said he might abstain or enter a blank vote.
The latest polling shows a Le Pen first round win with her soundly losing to her second place rival Macron in the second round:
France, Ifop poll: Le Pen (FN-ENF): 25% Macron (EM-*): 24% ↓ Fillon (LR-EPP): 19% ↑ Melénchon (FI-LEFT): 17% ↑… https://t.co/f9TkOEYIuk
Le Pen is hoping to repeat the Trump miracle in the second round voting. As of right now she’s got a lot of work to do before May.
France: Presidential election (run-off), Ifop poll: Macron (EM-*): 60% Le Pen (FN-ENF): 41% #LeGrandDebat