French Presidential Race: Marine LePen Far Ahead of Rivals in Secret Polling
LePen polling close to 34% in secret polls – Le Figaro
An editorialist at French daily, Le Figaro, has alluded to secret polling data which show the Front National’s Marine LePen scoring above 30% of intentions to vote in the first round of the French presidential election.
Surveys in the public domain consistently have populist LePen ahead of her rivals in the first round, at 26-28% of intentions to vote but losing to whichever rival she faces in the second. A score of above 30% in the first round, however, would significantly boost her chances of continuing to victory on May 7th.
In his recent article on the failing efforts of the media and political classes to thwart LePen’s continued rise, editorialist Ivan Rioufol cites ‘sous le manteau’, or hidden surveys in circulation which show LePen likely to score double her father, Jean-Marie LePen’s 2002 score of 16.86% .
The politically correct ‘Maginot line’ of France’s elites can no longer hold out against the popular anger of the French public, Rioufol writes, arguing that the threats by leftist intellectuals and celebrities to quit the country in the event of a LePen victory are actually boosting her campaign. Likewise for scare-mongering media warnings on a ‘return to the 1930s’.
The French media and political establishment are now openly contemplating a LePen victory, with frequent reference to the Front National ‘at the gates of power’, an eventuality until recently considered impossible.
Outgoing president, François Hollande, who describes it as his ‘final duty’ to keep LePen from winning, and who is actively campaigning with government ministers in Front National strongholds to keep LePen from power, has recently admitted that she may win. Privately, Hollande is said to fear that LePen’s support is under-estimated in the opinion polls and that the momentum of a high score in the first round could make it difficult for any rival candidate to beat her in the second.
With five weeks to go until the first round of voting on April 23rd, the main candidates will face-off in a televised debate tonight in Paris, to be broadcast on France’s TF1 and LCI television. The candidates will debate on security and immigration, the economy and France’s place in the world. With the campaign unpredictable and fast-moving, and a sense that this is a pivotal moment for France, the debate will likely attract high viewership and be the subject of Tuesday’s front pages.