Abstention in the presidential election: towards a “2002 syndrome”?

Civil servants prepare the programs of the candidates to be sent by mail to the citizens, in Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), on April 4, 2022.

This is the great fear for the first round of the presidential election. A few days before the election, all the indicators point to a risk of strong abstention on Sunday 10 April.

The survey conducted by Ipsos-Sopra Steria in partnership with the Sciences Po Political Research Center (Cevipof) and the Jean-Jaurès Foundation for The world shows it: the presidential election mobilizes less than in 2017. Thus, out of a panel of just under 13,000 people, 80% say they are certain or almost certain of going to vote, i.e. five points less than there are five years. However, the previous presidential election had already been marked by high abstention (22.2%).

Beyond this figure, its weak growth is also worrying. Since January, he has only gained three points. Less than a week before the vote, there is cause for concern. Indeed, mobilization often takes place in the last days of the campaign, especially among those less interested in politics. This time, the leverage effect does not seem to exist. “The campaign counts much less for the categories sure to go to vote, it does not change this stable coreexplains Céline Braconnier, university professor in political science, director of Sciences Po Saint-Germain and specialist in abstention. The last-minute intensity plays on the voters furthest from politics, the most fragile, the most defiant. The lack of campaign momentum leaves these people out. »

The 2022 presidential campaign was special. Started in the fall of 2021 with an epidemic rebound of Covid-19 due to the Omicron variant, then hit at the end of February by the war in Ukraine, it never managed to settle in public opinion.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Presidential election 2022: the risk of a historic abstention in the first round

The debates between the main candidates have not taken place, the tracts in the street are rare, and the diffuse impression that we already know the final winner – Emmanuel Macron – has concealed all interest. Also according to our survey, more than 66% of those questioned believe that Mr. Macron will be re-elected on April 24, a figure that has fallen sharply, but which nevertheless remains far ahead of those of all the other competitors. “What characterizes this election is the impression that there is no stake, that Emmanuel Macron will be re-elected. The configuration recalls 2002 when everyone was convinced of the presence of Lionel Jospin in the second round. This can allow for a lot of erratic ultimate moves.”says Brice Teinturier, Deputy Director of Ipsos.

“The campaign did not exist”

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