Why Extremes Don’t Meet

Le Pen and Besancenot Voters in the 2007 French Presidential Election

in French Politics, Culture & Society
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Focusing on electoral support for the extreme Left and the extreme Right on the eve of the 2007 French presidential election, this article refutes the "convergence of the extremes" theory. It draws on data from the 2007 CEVIPOF French Electoral Panel to compare the profiles of voters for Jean-Marie Le Pen and Olivier Besancenot. Combining sociological, psycho-political, and economic models for explaining voter choice, it shows how different Le Pen and Besancenot voters are in their partisan and ideological attachments, as well as their social affinities and their positions on candidates and issues. Divergent social and political logics explain the electoral support for these two candidates: their voters do not occupy the same political space, they do not have the same social background, and they do not hold the same values.

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