Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Best out of two, Sarkozy and Royal

An interesting poll released today allowed voters to choose which of the two major candidates they considered better on specific issues. Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy won strong on security (64%), immigration (58%), and economic growth (44%). Socialist candidate Segolene Royal won on education (52%), purchasing power(?) (45%), on unemployment (39%).

These numbers are nothing radically new; Royal has always done well on the fuzzy-domestic stuff and Sarkozy has always done well on the more hard-edged issues. Almost like the hard v. soft science dichotomy. The good news for Sarkozy (and bad for Royal) is that the French are ready for some painful economic reform, and they are willing to at least give Sarkozy a chance to try out his capitalist ideas. Unfortunately for Sarkozy, he has been unable to turn these strong marks for change into higher poll numbers. Part of this may have to do with what issues the French consider most important. In this same survey, people were asked which two political issues would sway their vote. The winner was poverty with 30%, followed unemployment (28%) and purchasing power (23%). So out of the top three deciding issues, all of them are ones that Segolene Royal is judged to be the most competent.

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