The French Presidential Election is bound to make or break the EU. It’s a three-way-race in France right now, with more moderate centre left candidate Emmanuel Macron, facing off against Conservative and self-confessed Thatcherite, Francios Fillon. Fillon’s falling as a scandal regarding his Welsh wife unfolds across France. Meanwhile, the frontrunner and political outsider is on the rise. Marine Le Pen of the Front National, she rails against Globalisation and what she describes as Islamic Fundamentalism in France.
The French Presidential election is decided in two rounds of voting. The winner and runner up of the first round, go through to the second round of voting which will decide the President. According to virtually every poll, Marine Le Pen is expected to win easily in the first round of voting, with Macron and Fillon fighting to come second, in order to secure their place on the second ballot.
The first-round polls look good for Le Pen, she has consistent support from around about ¼ of the electorate in France (and this doesn’t even include the ‘shy’ Front National voters). Macron is gaining support as Fillon stumbles, it looks unlikely now that Fillon will make the second round.
Assuming the final round will be a showdown between Marine Le Pen (FN) and Emmanuel Macron (EM), Le Pen looks set to lose in a landslide. As seen below, every poll shows Le Pen would lose by a margin of 60-40 as conservatives vote tactically to block her presidency.
However, treat these figures with caution. French pollsters are terrible and can’t count, let alone add up. British and American Pollsters (who are maybe the best in the world) failed spectacularly to predict Brexit or Trump, so I wouldn’t trust French pollsters at all.
Secondly, Marine Le Pen has the strongest core base of supporters, she will win the first round because of her solid support base. The other candidates are relying on independent voters voting tactically, because otherwise they don’t enjoy strong support from anyone. It would only take one more terrorist attack in France, or around the world, for French voters to vote Le Pen in desperation. Think about the campaign messages of other campaigns that were supposed to win. The argument against Brexit was, ‘Stronger, Safer, Better off’—FAIL! The argument against Trump was ‘Stronger Together’—FAIL! The argument against Le Pen is – Something similar. My point is, the argument of we’re better ‘together’ and ‘let’s not be divisive’, is not a strong enough case. People want change, they won’t settle for status quo.
The desire for change, and for an end to Frances problems will, in my opinion, catapult Marine Le Pen to a shock election victory in 2017. Brexit and Trump only emboldens French voters to follow in our footsteps and radically change direction.
It also doesn’t help Macron, that he was a minister for the Economy up until August 2016. The French economy has struggled and experienced sluggish growth and instability as terrorism rips the nation apart. He is a political insider, he’s like the Tony Blair of French politics, full of spin, full of smart ideas but absolutely no substance to him.
Finally, Marine Le Pen held a massive campaign rally in Lyon, to kick off her Presidential campaign, adopting the French flag as her symbol, she promotes French nationalism and promises to return Frances glory. No matter how much you don’t like it, her pitch to French voters is attractive. She will make France Great Again, and end the violence and rampant immigration that has destroyed France, and many voters will buy into that message.