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.