Le Pen’s comeback: the 2002 French presidential election


How could the French far right draw nearly 20% of the valid votes in the first round of the 2002 presidential election? Who are these voters and have they changed? Can this happen again? To answer these questions we rely on a three wave panel survey of 10,000 interviews conducted before the first round of the presidential election, after the second round and after the second round of the parliamentary elections. It shows that the main features of the Le Pen vote – xenophobic, authoritarian, mostly male – have not changed. But there has been an important shift in its social bases, from urban to rural areas and from young to elderly voters.