(Paris) It’s not a suspense, although… While the French are voting this Sunday in the first round of the presidential election, most commentators agree that the “match is over”, in short that the result is just a formality.
With 26% of the voting intentions*, Emmanuel Macron should not have too much difficulty passing this first round. Ditto for Marine Le Pen, who is trailing him at 22%. The gap between the two candidates is narrowing a little more each day, to the point that we now wonder if the boss of the National Rally could not win in the second round, scheduled for April 24.
Macron has seen a dramatic rise in the polls in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine due to his relentless diplomatic offensives with Vladimir Putin. We saw him as the only one capable of shining in the event of an international crisis. His victory seemed assured, to the point that the campaign lost interest.
But since the “flag effect” faded, the outgoing president has only lost points.
It must be said that he declared his candidacy late and that his campaign never really got off the ground, due to lack of time and a “visionary” program, according to some.
Macron also gave only one public rally and refused to participate in a televised debate, a strategy of withdrawal that was roundly criticized by his opponents and reduced in substance a campaign already devastated by the war in Ukraine. .
In short, he is criticized for sitting on his achievements, playing it safe.
Nothing to help: a senatorial commission of inquiry revealed in mid-March that the government had had regular and expensive recourse to private consulting firms (nearly 900 million euros in 2021), a “case” which has quite obstructed the Macron campaign.
Conversely, the Marine Le Pen dynamic continues to progress, thanks to a sustained field campaign and a successful de-demonization operation. The former “bad guy” has become the candidate of the little people, and too bad if that is accompanied by an anti-immigration policy drawing on xenophobia.
“She takes advantage of the comparison with Éric Zemmour, who speaks even more to the right, sums up Caroline Vigoureux, political journalist at opinion. She herself smoothed her speech a lot. She returned to measures that were divisive, such as the exit from the euro. And then she ran a good campaign in the field, coherent, constant, in which she talks a lot about purchasing power, which is a real concern in the electorate. »
Caroline Vigoureux, however, is careful not to trumpet that this first round is won in advance. If everything indicates that we are indeed heading for a second round Macron-Le Pen as in 2017, nothing excludes a last minute twist.
A presidential election always has its share of surprises, whatever they may be.
Caroline Vigoureux, political journalist at opinion
The surprise, in this case, could be called Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The candidate of La France insoumise (radical left) has seen his curve rise at a regular rate for two weeks, and is only five points behind Marine Le Pen. He could beat it to the post if the left-wing electorate, so far very divided, opted for the useful vote and decided to join forces to block the far right.
A possible scenario, but “unlikely”, nuance Bruno Cautrès, researcher at the CNRS and teacher at Sciences Po in Paris, evoking too great a gap between the two candidates. “Mélenchon benefits from an upward curve,” he said. But Marine Le Pen too. So it maintains its lead, which is still quite significant. »
Of course, polls can be wrong. We know it since Trump and Brexit. But at this point? Bruno Cautrès in doubt. “It would be such a huge crash that it’s not possible,” he said.
It will be necessary to see, moreover, what role will play the rate of abstention, evaluated by most polls at 30%, which would constitute a record for a presidential election.
Other surprises are also possible in the rest of the peloton. Will Éric Zemmour end his slide on a comeback? Will the right-wing candidate Valérie Pécresse exceed the psychological threshold of 10%? Will the socialist Anne Hidalgo shave the daisies or the bitumen? Will the ineffable Jean Lassalle have more votes than “likes” on TikTok?
Answer after the polls close on Sunday, at 7 p.m. Paris time.
* Odoxa poll, April 7
Emmanuel Macron (Republic on the move): 26%
Marine Le Pen (National Rally): 22%
Jean-Luc Mélenchon (Rebellious France): 17%
Eric Zemmour (Reconquest): 9%
Valérie Pécresse (The Republicans): 9%
Yannick Jadot (Europe Ecology the Greens): 5%
Fabien Roussel (Communist Party): 3%
Jean Lassalle (Resist): 3%
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan (Stand up for France): 2%
Anne Hidalgo (Socialist Party): 2%
Philippe Poutou (New Anti-Capitalist Party): 1%
Nathalie Arthaud (Labour struggle): 1%
Source: Survey The echoes/Opinionway of April 7
The campaign in figures
April 10 and 24
Dates of the first round and the second round of the presidential election
Year of introduction of universal suffrage in two rounds, still in force in France. The two candidates with the most votes in the first round remain in the running for the second round, which takes place two weeks later. A candidate having obtained an absolute majority in the first round is automatically elected. It never happened.
Number of French people registered on the electoral lists
According to an Ipsos poll of April 3, 30% of voters say they are not sure of going to vote in the first round. This would be a historic abstention rate, which would exceed the record of the presidential election of 2002 (28.4%).
Proportion of French people who say they are primarily concerned about the issue of purchasing power. Next come the war in Ukraine (33%) and the environment (26%). (Ipsos poll, April 6, 2022)
Time at which TF1 will broadcast the film Visitors this evening, thus cutting short the election night of the first round. The management of the channel explains this choice because “the uses, tastes and expectations of viewers have evolved”.
The elected candidate does not take office immediately. The mandate of the outgoing president ends 10 days after the election. The new President of the Republic then enters the Élysée after an investiture ceremony.