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The French EU referendum – it’s down to turnout

May 27th, 2005

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    Is this an election for punters to avoid?

With the polls showing that 54-55% of French people say they will vote no in the EU constitutional referendum on Sunday the best price you can get on this outcome is 3/10 on.

There are two main spread-betting markets operating :- IG Index have 47-49% on the proportion voting YES. Confusingly the Spreadfair market is on the proportion voting NO where the latest spread is 52-53.9% .

Any deviation from what the polls are showing might come from the make-up of those saying they want to reject the reforms. From a UK polling perspective the sections of society most opposed are those who would be less likely to vote in an election. It is hard to know whether the same applies in France.

    Our guess is that the result will be closer than the polls are showing but we are not betting on it.

The political fall-out across Europe of a French rejection followed four days later by a similar vote in the Netherlands is likely to be enormous. By Thursday morning the constitution might look dead whatever its protagonists say about waiting to see what each of the member states does. The French and the Dutch were amongst the original six members of the EEC and are still very much at the heart of Europe.

In the UK the votes could not come at a more interesting time for the Next Tory leader election because the party has been totally divided by Europe ever since Denmark voted against the Maastricht treaty in 1992. It was the Danish vote almost exactly thirteen years ago that gave heart to the Europhobe wing of the Conservative party and caused all the problems for John Major.

Mike Smithson






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