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Le Pen’s voter base: France’s poor rural drivers

The presidential election that is underway right now in France is playing out exactly as one might imagine. The first round of votes took place on April 10, and the second and final round — which is now between Macron and Le Pen — will take place on April 24.

How people voted in the first round can be mostly explained by geography. If you live in an urban center, an attractive tourist center, or have reasonably good rail connectivity to either of these two kinds of places, you likely voted for Macron.

On the other hand, if you live in a poorer rural area, you were more likely to vote for Le Pen. Our spiky unequal world remains, even in France, where more wealth tends to be redistributed compared to places like the UK and the US.

But there’s another potentially correlative factor that should interest readers of this blog (even if it is somewhat obvious). If you voted for Macron in the first round, you were also less likely to rely on a car to get to work. Here are two charts from the Financial Times:

This point is perhaps obvious because geography and built form largely determine whether or not you want/need to drive. And the way to not drive is to live in a dense city. But I think it’s also a useful reminder that owning a car does not necessarily need to correlate with high economic status.

In fact, when I look at these charts, not having to drive to work feels like a good thing.

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