So here are my questions:
1. Do all the riots and burning cars play into this voting choice? I mean, I heard some French natives being pretty blase about all that rioting--but maybe some of the non-online guys (who maybe got their, um, cars torched) took it a little more seriously?
2. There hasn't been a serious Al Qaeda attack in France yet (to my knowledge) but with hits in England and Spain, is it possible that the defensive shield Europe has sort of laid claim to isn't seen as strong enough to rely on? Is there an anti-terror foreign policy aspect to this?
3. Most importantly: the runner up was a woman--I see reflections of this happening in the upcoming US election. She would've been the first woman leader of France and I think that there's some cachet there. But it's the same with Hilary: if the voting public just isn't ready for that (along a number of axises) isn't it a prescription for political suicide? Maybe? I'm not sure. I kinda see the same thing happening here though (Hilary gets the democratic nomination and then the Republicans pull out a third unlikely win in row due to mainstream feelings about her).
Edited to add: Note that this article compares Sarkozy directly to Rudy Guilani and notes that, indeed, a whole buncha cars burst into flame on his election.