As Sasha Issenberg reports in Slate today, polling suggests that the socialist candidate François Hollande has beaten incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy by several percentage points in the first round of voting for the French presidency. Neither has received a majority of votes, however, and so a second round of voting will be held in two weeks. Today's results, Issenberg says, "presage a difficult re-election" for Sarkozy.
Issenberg argued earlier this week that the success of Hollande's campaign so far has much to do with the lessons it learned from the 2008 Obama campaign, which three of Hollande's campaign advisors studied carefully while living in the United States. Whether they also picked up a taste for American popular music I have no idea, but this month the Hollande campaign put out an ad scored to a rather unlikely song: "Ni**as in Paris," by Jay-Z and Kanye West, from the album Watch the Throne.
In the ad, French voters of various races hold up their electoral cards, a possible rebuke to Sarkozy's past racial insensivity. Hollande is seen campaigning in the diverse suburbs and towns north of Paris, including one used to create the best bilingual pun perhaps ever employed in a political ad. You know that town of roughly 35,000 people about an hour north of Paris? That shit Creil.