The last three polls published on Sunday suggest Emanuel Macron is catching up with Marine Le Pen that appears to have reached a ceiling on the polls.
State of Play
For over two weeks, polls for Marine Le Pen range between 25% and 27%. But, following the endorsement of Emmanuel Macron by the centrist Francois Bayrou, he has become the leading contender for the Presidency. All polls published on Monday suggest all of the followers of Bayrou (4,5%) have followed his suggestion and are now firmly behind Macron who has a solid 24%-to-25%.
Macron has some room to grow.
On Sunday, the idea of a broad left front encompassing the Socialist nominee Benoit Hamon, the Trotskyist Jean-Luc Melenchon, the Communist and the Green Party collapsed. On Sunday it became official that the left front will not materialise, which means none of the two men can hope to make it to the runoff stage of the election. The two candidates disagree over the EU, with Melenchon being much more sceptical over EU membership and participation in the European Monetary Union.
Without the prospect of making it to the second round, it is expected that more and more members of the so-called reformist part of the Socialist Party will be endorsing Macron. On Sunday, the head of the reformist branch of the Socialist Party, Christophe Caresche, announced he would be supporting Macron, France 24 reports.
The political landscape remains fragmented. Polls suggest that the centre-right candidate, Francois Fillon, retains a solid 20%. However, he does not look able to go beyond the hard core of traditional Republican voters.
As the debate is increasingly polarized, Marine Le Pen is hoping to regain momentum. There are reasons to suggest she could dip into the far-left and nationalist right pools of voters in the second round. On the right, she makes a morally conservative, nationalist, uni-cultural, pro-Russian, sovereigntist appeal. On the left, she makes a socioeconomic appeal that is anti-Euro and more broadly Eurosceptic.
On Sunday, Le Pen addressed a crowd in Nantes accusing Macron of being a “pro-European fanatic” who cannot tune in developments in the Netherlands, Italy, and Britain. If one buys into her argument that the dominant right-left cleavage is now largely surpassed with a national-global cleavage, she could make inroads that pollsters have not learned how to detect. Unfortunately, there are precedents.
The prevailing assumption has always been that although in the first round Marine Le Pen can make it first, she will struggle to gain ground in the second as most voters turn to the candidate more committed to the EU, the Euro, and multicultural society.
On Monday, the euro rose against due to political developments in France, predominantly the developments favouring Macron. The news that Macron has his biggest lead yet over Fillon and is narrowing the gap with National Front reduces one of the most significant political risks for the Eurozone, Bloomberg reports. And French sovereign 10-year bond spreads begin to slide to normal levels.
First Published with New Europe: https://www.neweurope.eu/article/macron-catches-le-pen-markets-sigh-relief/