French Referendum Still Up For Grabs

On Friday I suggested (using an Economist article as my point of support) that the French referendum result was far from a foregone conclusion. Further evidence for this comes from a poll published in today’s Le Monde. For the first time in recent weeks we have evidence to support the possibility of a ‘yes’ vote: 52% say they are prepared to vote in favour.

The poll was conducted by TNS-Sofres and Unilog for Le Monde, RTL and LCI.The last time this poll was conducted (15-18 April) the ‘no’ vote registered 55%, so there is evidence for some sort of change. The shift reflects an increase in those who expressed a clear intention to vote (up to 63% of those interviewed from 58% in the previous round).

Now obviously one swallow doesn’t make a summer, and opinion polls obviously have notorious problems, but it does seem that something is moving and that in France at least the game is far from over.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

8 thoughts on “French Referendum Still Up For Grabs

  1. yes – interesting – my own feeling is that the french might get cold feet about voting no – they’ve already put the wind up Chirac. they might now relent and vote yes. but who knows.

  2. Aren’t you all forgetting Holland has a referendum as well, on June the 1st? A Nay from the Dutch means the same as a Nay from the French: no treaty.

  3. France voting NO kills the constitution, but the dutch voting NO may not. France and Germany are so central to the EU that they have to vote yes. Lesser, but still important countries can vote no and then try again later to get it ratified. Remember, this has happened before with EU treaties. And if a non-Euro country votes no (such as the UK) it could just mean that this particular country is out of the new federalized EU.

  4. Maybe French voters are getting tired of campaigners for the ‘non’ telling them that the constitution would outlaw abortion, and other such crap.

  5. “Aren’t you all forgetting Holland has a referendum as well”

    No, I don’t think we are necessarily forgetting the Netherlands, but I do think with things so finely balanced it is worth taking this one step at a time.

    The Dutch vote is three days after the French one, and is bound to be affected by the French result. The really interesting question is ‘how’?

    If anyone has any information to offer on this front it would be most interesting.

    Also I am inclined to agree with AP that – with all due respect to Dutch voters – the strategic significance of the two votes is not the same.

    Also, each country is different, and there may be different reasons for voting ‘no’ in each case – reasons which can be addressed.

    In general I think one of the good things about the EU is that there is ultimately a fair degree of pragmatism about our political life. A French ‘no’ would be a big headache, no doubt about that, but it wouldn’t necessarily be the end of the road.

    Referendum suffer from the same problem as opinion surveys (and this was one of the reasons that for a long time they were excluded from UK political life): the response is in part conditioned by the question.

    On both sides there are those who would vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ whatever was in the text, equally there are some who vote according to things they like or dislike in this specific version, ergo a modified version could produce a different outcome.

    Equally a Commission voicing strong opinions about eg trade with China during the campaign could alter the way people perceive the ‘free market’ reading of the constitution document. Things like that obviously may affect the final outcome.

    So obviously Hagelslag I don’t accept your fundamental thesis that:

    “A Nay from the Dutch means the same as a Nay from the French: no treaty”.

    Among others reasons for those I offered in my earlier ‘euro’ post. One commentator seemed happy with the idea that the euro could ‘explode’ as a long term consequence of a ‘no’, but I doubt the majority of voters in euroland countries would be so complacent.

    So I think ultimately some version of the treaty will be implemented, even if, in extremis and as AP suggests, the UK may not be a signatory.

  6. Hello
    I am french and I am very interesting about what you are writing. The problem is that the French aren’t against Eu but they don’t agreed with the NON-social issues of the Constitution.
    We are sure that if are voting “NO” all the Europeen countries have immediatly to renegociate the treaty and to add more social policies, more federal practices and a real european foreign policy in favour of poor people of the World that is not doing the Ultra libaral american policy.

  7. Hello
    I am french and I am very interesting about what you are writing. The problem is that the French aren’t against Eu but they don’t agreed with the NON-social issues of the Constitution.
    We are sure that if are voting “NO” all the Europeen countries have immediatly to renegociate the treaty and to add more social policies, more federal practices and a real european foreign policy in favour of poor people of the World that is not doing the Ultra libaral american policy.

  8. As a closing remark on a post on the deLong-Grass-debate I added some lines about the referendum in the Netherlands too. I repeat them here: “The inevitability part is the most worrying. That is how the referendum on the *EU-constitution* can get a *no* from the Netherlands too: lots of people feel that *those politician* give up our fine nation. Yesterday we had a report on some polls telling us that out of 38% of the expected turn-out on the referendum some 55% are going to vote NO, against 45 yes. But more significant was the answer on a related question: some two-third of the respondents expect that if the outcome of the referendum will be no with not a big difference parliament will ratify the EU-constitution anyway.”
    (complete post)

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