En France: presidential campaigns

In France, a presidential election lasts about four months, from beginning to end. (Ours has no official starting date other than the Iowa caucuses, in January. But at least for the party that has a race for the nomination, the campaign is in full swing for well over a year.)

In France, the election is held in two stages. All parties (10 in the most recent election) run in the first stage, then the top two finishers have a runoff, so there is both a fair chance for minor parties to break through and a guarantee that the ultimate winner will have a majority vote.

There are no paid political TV commercials in France. The candidates go on TV to be interviewed and there is a requirement that they all get equal time.

The total budget for a campaign that goes all way the through the final round is slightly above $50 million. In the United States, we are now in the era of multi-billion dollar campaigns, but the counting is complicated by the proliferation of the SuperPACs and other groups that are officially (but not really) independent of the campaigns and the parties.

The turnout in the first round of the most recent presidential election was slightly above 80 percent. U.S. voter turnout has not been above 60 percent of the voting age population since 1968.

You can also learn about all our free newsletter options.

Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by chuck holtman on 10/31/2012 - 03:37 pm.

    Our system is a disgrace. Point made.

    If you didn’t know who you were voting for two minutes into this campaign season, you shouldn’t get to vote.

Leave a Reply