France Presidential Election 2012 Map Round 1

This is a pretty amazing high resolution map of the French 2012 Presidential Election results

In broad strokes, the pink/socialist candidate did well in the Southwest, Normandy (why?), Paris and probably other major cities. The far right-wing (grey) did well in the South (due to a higher population of immigrants and anti-immigrant racism?) and North-East. The orange centrist candidate did well in the South West (possibly his home region). The greens won a couple tiny districts in the South-East. The red (communist and friends) candidate won a scattering of districts, notably in the South.

In general the French presidential elections are highly eclectic. All sorts of candidates will run in the first round, and the results are as strange as you get in European Union elections. Voters like to send messages of frustration and vote for candidates further on the left or right than they normally would.

Most noticeably in this election, the Front National (racist far-right party) got 18% which is their best ever score. By contrast, they don't hold a single seat in the National Assembly, partially because it is first past the post with a two round system and they don't make deals with the other conservative parties.

It is also interesting that 1.9% of the ballots were either spoiled or otherwise nullified. That's a ton of votes. It might be correlated to having so many candidates?