“The ‘plate tectonics’ of political parties has not yet calmed down”

Grandstand. Will the 2022 presidential election continue the breakdown of the French partisan system, spectacularly revealed in 2017 by the election of Emmanuel Macron? Several elements attest to the historical collapse of the political forces (Socialist Party, Les Républicains) which dominated the left and right blocs throughout the Vand Republic. On the left, the impressive weakness of the environmentalist and social-democratic camp goes hand in hand with the clear domination of Jean-Luc Mélenchon. On the right, we are witnessing the impossible political equation of the Les Républicains (LR) party, doubly challenged on cultural conservatism by the far right and on economic liberalism by Emmanuel Macron. Finally, on the far right, a new radicalism, represented by Eric Zemmour, comes to compete with the National Rally. The latest opinion polls suggest that the “dégagisme” of 2017 could continue, through the elimination of the candidates of the traditional parties and a second round similar to that of 2017, around an opposition between conservatism and cultural liberalism.

This divide, identified by Cevipof surveys from the 1990s, has not erased the left-right polarization, but coexists with it. This duality affects our political life in depth. If the “plate tectonics” has not yet calmed down and if the table of our partisan system is still full of uncertainties, the electoral sequence of 2022 (presidential and legislative) will make it possible to make strong progress in the analysis of political recompositions future.

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To analyze these processes, new scientific tools make it possible to understand the evolution of the partisan system, beyond the classic electoral surveys by polls, which are essential for understanding the motivations for voting and the ideological universe of voters. The Presidential Compass, that we have developed at Cevipof since the 2012 election, is one of them. It is a voting assistance site (SAV) or Voting Advice Application (VAA), which allows users to answer about thirty questions and to be positioned in a space structured by two axes on which we have, upstream, placed the candidates after a meticulous work of coding their programs. These two axes correspond horizontally to a left-right dimension (state interventionism versus economic liberalism) and vertically to a cultural conservatism-cultural liberalism dimension. The principle of this site is simple: after studying his answers, the user finds himself placed next to the candidate to whom he is closest.

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