When the baker goes away, the FN vote climbs

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The disappearance of small businesses in villages but also in cities such as Marseille and Paris helps to boost the vote FN and for his presidential candidate, Marine Le Pen, analyzed researchers.

Their work illuminates the government’s plan, presented Thursday in the Lot, for territories that feel abandoned.

“The more the disappearance of shops and local services is important, the more the propensity to vote FN is strong”, summarizes the AFP Jerome Fourquet, director of the department “opinion and business strategies” at Ifop.

This political scientist is the author, with the demographer and historian Hervé Le Bras of the book “The French puzzle, a new political sharing” (July 2017, Jean Jaurès Foundation), which studies the electoral map of the presidential election where Marine Le Pen had qualified for the second round.

Geography has remained unchanged since the 1984 elections: the FN’s highest scores are in the Northeast and the Mediterranean.

However, they found that between 2012 and 2017, the gaps widened according to the number of inhabitants: the smaller the size of the municipality, the more the FN vote progresses.

In addition to the number of inhabitants, the distance to the nearest large city also favored the FN vote.

The phenomenon has even increased in 2017. “Now, between a distance of 30 to 60 km from the center of large cities, the FN gets percentages exceeding 65% those of the center”.

– Speaking of remoteness is not enough –

Nevertheless, the villages or cities that are the farthest from the metropolis, ie beyond 100 km, vote FN “as the average”.

“Talking about distance or periphery is not enough,” said the researchers, who were interested in “social and economic content” as shops and local services.

From the Gedeon database of the ADN company, they identified among 11 activities (from the supermarket to the restaurant through the bakery, the pharmacy, or the post office), those that were still present in the villages of less than 500 inhabitants.

And they found that their density had “a significant influence on the FN vote level”.

“It is in the municipalities of less than 500 inhabitants devoid of any trade and service that the vote” for Mrs. Le Pen is the highest (28.3% in the first round), while in the municipalities that have all these activities, the FN score drops to 19.4%, 9 points lower.

Similarly, they calculated that 60% of the villages in the North-East, a bastion of the FN, no longer had any services or trade. While only 25% of the villages in the West, which votes the least FN, are totally deprived of these services.

“There is a mesh that stands and a sense of isolation that develops,” concludes Mr. Fourquet.

– Revitalize to stem –

But he warns that this is only a “complementary lever” to the dynamics of the FN vote, which is fed by many other factors, such as the relationship to immigration, deindustrialization or feeling of insecurity.

The political scientist Joël Gombin has transposed the method of MM. The Bras and Fourquet to the big cities of Marseille and Paris.

In Marseille, he observed in the 2015 regional elections the same correlation between a stronger FN vote in areas without local shops.

In Paris, Mr. Gombin even established a causal relationship between zones of revitalization – where the mixed economy company of the City of Paris (Semaest) installed services and equipment – and the containment of the vote FN, from the polls from 2007 to 2015.

“The fact of increasing local shops has made the FN vote has progressed less quickly”, according to this specialist of the vote frontist.

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