She has been a frequent candidate for the French presidency, starting with the election of 1974, and continuing through those of 1981, 1988, 1995, 2002, and 2007. During most of these, Laguiller was the only female candidate. Her best result was in 2002 when she came in fifth place and received 5.72% of the vote. In December 2005, Laguiller announced that she would run for president for the sixth and final time in 2007. After finishing a distant ninth in 2007's first round of voting (487,857 votes, totaling 1.33% of the popular vote), for the first time since 1981 she endorsed the Socialist Party candidate (Ségolène Royal) for the second round. In the past, Laguiller and LO have often refrained from openly supporting the Socialist Party and taken a neutral stance in the second round.
The puppet showLes Guignols de l'info frequently caricatured Laguiller as saying, "Travailleuses, travailleurs ! On vous ment, on vous spolie !" ("Female workers, male workers! You are being lied to, you are being robbed!"). Laguiller indeed did begin most of her speeches with the formula, "Travailleuses, travailleurs!".
In 1995, pop singer Alain Souchon recorded the song Arlette Laguiller, commenting that, "Her words, of course, may be a little worn-out," but praising her "peppermint-fresh" way of expressing them, and indicating that, "When Arlette sings, you feel a real sense of love." He has since lost his soft spot for Laguiller after she refused to back Jacques Chirac against Jean-Marie Le Pen in the 2002 presidential election and has stated that he won't sing the song again.