On Sunday, April 24, France goes to the polls in the second round of the presidential elections. As was the case in recent years, in 2017 the French will have to choose between Emmanuel Macron, the current president, and the far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Macron remains invariably ahead of Le Pen, with around 55% intending to vote, according to the average of surveys prepared by DatosRTVE based on the main French surveys. After a decline in the days prior to the first round, his advantage has widened again in recent days, with the weight of the polls carried out after the vote. But the distance between the two candidates for the Elysee is not very wide.
On this occasion, the confrontation between Macron and Le Pen is expected to be tighter than in 2017. Five years ago they went to the polls with a distance of more than 23 points in favor of Macron, according to the average of the polls. On this occasion, the advantage of the current president and leader of the formation La République En Marche! it barely exceeds nine points, although with a favorable trend.
Mélenchon’s vote and the other candidates
In this final phase of the French presidential elections, the challenge for both candidates is to conquer the electorate of those who have not managed to pass the round. Especially that of the candidate of La France Insumisa, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who ranked as the third force with the support of 22% of the voters. His vote in the second round is largely an unknown: will he abstain? Will he take the step of voting for Macron?
Mélenchon himself has asked not to vote for the extreme right, but he has not explicitly advocated voting for Macron. According to the latest Ipsos barometer, almost half of its voters refuse to express their choice for the second round. 16% of them would opt for Le Pen, while 38% would go for Mélenchon. The current president would be the option chosen by 52% of the voters of Valérie Pécresse – leader of the center-right Republicans party – and also of those of the environmentalist Yannick Jadot. For its part, the electorate of Éric Zemmour, the candidate who disputed Le Pen for the space of the extreme right, is the one that seems to have the clearest decision: 73% would choose Le Pen as the future president of France.
Le Pen managed to put aside his ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin, and focus his speech on the economy and the defense of the purchasing power of the French, the issue that most concerns voters in this campaign. With this strategy he got 23.1% of the votes in the first round. Macron he got 27.8%, far from the high point he reached in mid-March, when his performance as a European leader in the face of the war in Ukraine propelled him up to 30%.
Although both Macron and Le Pen slightly exceeded what the average of the polls predicted, their results were quite adjusted to the forecast. More surprise gave the candidates who were in third and fourth place. Mélenchon, whom the polls placed considerably far from the first two candidates, obtained almost six points more than expected. Zemmour, for his part, was close to 10% of the vote according to the average of the latest polls, but at the polls he barely exceeded 7%.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.