Marine Le Pen
Photo By staffpresi_esj on Flickr, under Creative Commons 2.0

On Sunday, France’s far-right National Front Party captured a huge increase in female support under the leadership of its female candidate, Marine Le Pen.

About 18 percent of the people who voted for Le Pen were women, according to an April 22 study conducted by the pollster CSA and the women’s magazine Terra Femina. 
Polls that were carried out following the 2007 presidential elections showed that about 7 percent of women and 14 percent of men supported her father, the party’s former president. Today, the party is undergoing arebalancing of the ratio of men to women within its voters.
This time, Le Pen won almost 18 percent of the overall votes, the highest percentage that her party has ever won, though that wasn’t enough to advance her to the second voting round on May 6.
Other than the National Front Party, French women voted in patterns that matched male counterparts.
The Socialist candidate, François Hollande, who enters the second round of voting, won 29 percent of the women’s vote versus 28.6 percent of the overall electorate, according to the CSA-Terra Femina poll.
President Nicolas Sarkozy won 27 percent of the women’s vote and 27.1 of the overall votes.
Women who voted for the front-running Hollande spanned many demographics. Women in lower wage occupations preferred Le Pen to Hollande (29 percent to 27 percent).
Professional and executive women and retired women favored Sarkozy over Hollande.
The socialist candidate, Hollande, was most popular with young women between 18-34 (31 percent-34 percent), while women aged 65 and over preferred Sarkozy (42 percent).
The study also found that 39 percent of female voters had chosen a candidate long before election day, while 15 percent made their choice on the day they went to the polls. A pattern similar to the overall electorate, 41 percent of voters made their choice long before and 12 percent on the day of the election.
Nineteen percent of women said their purchasing power was their chief concern, followed by unemployment (16 percent) and social inequalities (14 percent). Those figures mirror the priorities of men.