How France's poor are turning to Marine Le Pen

By Nonna Mayer

In 2012 the Left attracted its biggest shares of votes in the presidential election from the poorest sectors of society. But after François Hollande's presidency that support has dwindled. In the regional elections in 2015 this electorate turned instead towards the far-right Front National, headed by Marine Le Pen. The signs are that large numbers of France's poorest voters will also back Le Pen in the first round of the presidential election in April. Academic and Front National specialist Nonna Mayer analyses the figures.

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At the last presidential election in 2012 the Left received its biggest level of support from the least well-off voters. At the time this electorate saw the socialist François Hollande as the candidate who “defended poor people” and “the workers” and was strong on social issues, and they felt the Left “had a heart”(1). But after three years of the Hollande presidency the link was broken. At the regional elections in 2015 this electorate turned towards the far-right Front National (FN). In the first round of the French presidential election on April 23rd, there is a strong possibility that they will again back the FN's candidate Marine Le Pen.