French presidential runoff election minus two days

Emmanuel Macron has a large poll lead over Marine Le Pen before Sunday’s runoff election. Also covered: US and UK developments

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The French presidential runoff election will occur Sunday, with all polls closed by 4am Monday AEST.  Incumbent Emmanuel Macron and the far-right Marine Le Pen will contest this election after finishing top two in the first round.  Polls have Macron leading by about 56-44, up from 52-48 before the first round.  An almost three hour TV debate between Macron and Le Pen occurred early Thursday morning AEST; polls don’t yet account for any debate impact.

In the April 10 first round, Macron was first with 27.8%, with Le Pen winning the second runoff spot with 23.2%.  The far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon was a close third with 22.0%, followed by the more far-right Éric Zemmour with 7.1%, conservative Valérie Pécresse with 4.8% and the Greens’ Yannick Jadot with 4.6%.

In my results commentary, I said that polls understated Mélenchon (by about five points) and overstated the other right-wing candidates (Zemmour and Pécresse).  On this basis, it’s more likely that the polls are understating Macron than overstating him; he was understated at the 2017 election.

The first round was a terrible result for the two former French major parties, with Pécresse a distant fifth and barely ahead of the Greens, while the Socialist candidate won just 1.7%.  If Macron wins this election, he will be term limited in 2027, so can the former majors recover, or will 2027 be a contest between far-right and far-left candidates?

US and UK developments

Joe Biden’s ratings remain in negative double digits in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, with 52.6% currently disapproving and 41.9% approving (net -10.7).  US inflation was up 1.2% in March alone, and up 8.5% in the 12 months to March.  As a result, real weekly earnings dropped 1.1% in March and are down 3.6% in the 12 months to March.

Florida Republican governor Ron DeSantis and the Republican legislature had disagreed over redistricting of Florida’s 28 Congressional Districts.  But the legislature yielded to DeSantis, and his map is likely to be approved this week.  This map would give Republicans 18 seats, Democrats eight and competitive two, with changes from the current 27-seat map of Republicans up four and competitive down three.  There’s speculation that DeSantis could run for president in 2024.

The Conservatives continue to drop in the UK polls, with Labour now leading by about eight points  Boris Johnson and Chancellor Rishi Sunak were fined by the police over Partygate, with those fines revealed April 12.  Neither has resigned.  Sunak, who was once very popular, had a 62-32 poor rating for being chancellor in a DeltaPoll while 69% said cost of living was an important problem facing them, far higher than the 31% for the next ranking economy.  UK local council elections will be held May 5.

A parliamentary by-election will occur in Wakefield after the Conservative MP resigned following a conviction for child sexual assault.  Wakefield had been Labour-held since 1932 before they lost it in 2019 on a 47.3-39.8 Conservative margin with 6.1% Brexit party and 3.9% Liberal Democrats.  At the 2016 Brexit referendum, Wakefield voted Leave by 62.6-37.4.

Australian electorate maps

William Bowe covered my electorate maps for The Conversation on Thursday.  They are different to most maps in that darker red or blue colours are used for safer Labor and Coalition seats.  The Conversation’s graphics editor created the maps, but it’s my commentary.

22 comments on “French presidential runoff election minus two days”

  1. Thank you Adrian.

    Macron should get over the line. Thank goodness. Not that I am enamoured with him, but Le Pen is a bridge too far. She is a Putin ally. Not what is required at this time in France or Europe for that matter

  2. Macron by 8-12 points is my guess.
    Thanks Adrian for your always comprehensive posts on elections overseas and politics overseas.

  3. I suppose now we also need to turn our mind to what may happen in five years time. If, as expected, Macron wins this time he has not so far groomed a successor. So maybe a case of “Après moi, le déluge” ?

    The collapse in the vote for the traditional parties of the right and left may finally give Le Pen that opening she and her father have been seeking for decades. Say for example in 2027 Macron’s successor in his party is less than stellar, the ‘old’ parties continue in their stagnation and the run-off is between Le Pen and Mélenchon – I would think Le Pen would have a good chance of winning.

    I know this is all a long way off – but it does concern me that Le Pen may get even 45% of the vote this time, including significant majorities from places in France where people I know live.

  4. I see that following the next general election, in which he will be running, Mélenchon has said that he will be willing to put himself forward as a possible Prime Minister. That could present Macron with quite a conundrum.

  5. The French Parliamentary election should give a better idea on where the parties in France stand when they are held in June. I doubt that En marche will do as well as last time. The better candidates are unlikely to be nailing their colours to the mast of Macron this time.

  6. Your commentary on this is close to the only commentary i read on these subjects Mr Beaumont. I appreciate your data and insights. Thanks.

  7. Thomas Fazi :

    > It’s no surprise that an in-depth study of Le Pen’s manifesto by the Centre for Political Research at Sciences Po, one of the largest and most influential centres for political science research in France and definitely not a lepéniste bulwark, concluded that her political programme is firmly “to the Left of the economic axis” — far more so than Macron’s agenda. Interestingly, the study also showed that Le Pen’s electorate shares her Left-wing economic outlook: high confidence in unions, distrust of large private companies, refusal to reduce the number of civil servants. Overall, an overwhelming majority of Le Pen’s supporters agree with the idea that “one should take from the rich to give to the poor”.

  8. Matthew Goodwin :

    > Whatever happens in the second round of the French election, Marine Le Pen will be able to claim victory. If the polls are correct, as they were in round one, she will receive around 46% of the vote. But while Le Pen will fail to win the presidency, she will be able to saviour another prize: the knowledge that she has forever broken the mould of French politics.

  9. Incidentally, Bluey predicts a rather ordinary victory for Macron.

    He wonders whether OC would identify PASOKification in action in the french polity.

  10. ‘Honest Bastard says:
    Friday, April 22, 2022 at 6:21 pm

    Matthew Goodwin :

    > Whatever happens in the second round of the French election, Marine Le Pen will be able to claim victory. If the polls are correct, as they were in round one, she will receive around 46% of the vote. But while Le Pen will fail to win the presidency, she will be able to saviour another prize: the knowledge that she has forever broken the mould of French politics.
    Really? Forever?

  11. Boerwar, from further down in Goodwin’s piece :

    > Combined, support for the French Gaullists and the socialists collapsed from 54% in the late Eighties to just 6% today. Over the last half century, the French socialists — once the pre-eminent Left-wing party in Europe — have fallen from over 40% to just 1.7%. They are, in short, almost extinct. It is Marine Le Pen, not the Socialists, who can claim with a straight face to be the main working-class party in French politics.

    And the point that he makes in the last sentence is gone into in more depth in the Thomas Fazi article I also linked above.

    (Goodwin, btw, is a specialist on ‘populist politics’ in Europe. He’s published several books on the subject, the last being ‘National Populism: The Revolt Against Liberal Democracy’).

  12. Mélenchon out performed the polls in part because he did very well in the French overseas territories which suspect were not polled (a bit like how Northern Ireland is not polled in general UK polls).

  13. It is a relief that enough of the ~50% who didnt vote for either in R1 will hold their nose and vote Macron tomorrow. The danger was that so many would abstain as to give the impression of closeness… though even a 10 point win is far too close.

    In the US, gosh Biden looks totally cooked. House far gone and senate looks shaky in a big wave. These primaries for repub races pretty impt in terms of Trump’s stranglehold and the chance of dems saving some furniture.

    I think Boris might have used up his nine lives now, but all i know is that he will never ever voluntarily resign. The name i hear is Ben Wallace to be next in line, given Sunaks implosion and disregard for Truss

  14. Pete Buttigieg ought to be the Democrat candidate in 2024, he oozes class, but conservative America won’t vote for an openly gay man with a husband

  15. Buttigieg wouldn’t get through a Dem primary – for the opposite reasons. Too moderate and waffly positions.

    I like him and think he’d be great – but I’d be stunned.

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