France Prepares For The 2022 Polls: Macron, Le Pen Almost Neck-in-Neck

Published January 28th, 2021 - 10:54 GMT
In this file photo taken on January 08, 2021 President of French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN), Marine Le Pen (L) and the leader of Portuguese far-right party Chega, Andre Ventura hold a joint press conference at the Monument to the Fallen in the Great War in Lisbon. The first round of the presidential election will be held on January 24, 2021. The head of the anti-establishment party Chega, MP Andre Ventura, aims to bolster the inroads this new right-wing populist party has made since it ente
In this file photo taken on January 08, 2021 President of French far-right party Rassemblement National (RN), Marine Le Pen (L) and the leader of Portuguese far-right party Chega, Andre Ventura hold a joint press conference at the Monument to the Fallen in the Great War in Lisbon. The first round of the presidential election will be held on January 24, 2021. The head of the anti-establishment party Chega, MP Andre Ventura, aims to bolster the inroads this new right-wing populist party has made since it entered parliament during the legislative elections last year. CARLOS COSTA / AFP
Highlights
The study was commissioned by the CommStrat firm and the daily L'Opinion and was carried out online between January 19 and 20.

A poll ahead of next year's French presidential election has put far-right politician Marine Le Pen almost level with President Emmanuel Macron, should they make it to the final round.

The poll by Harris Interactive saw Macron receive 52 percent of the vote to Le Pen's 48 percent, according to Le Parisien.

France is due to head to the polls in April 2022 for the first round of the presidential election. The incumbent President Macron is eligible for reelection but has not yet said whether he will run again.

Le Pen, who came second to Macron in the 2017 election and third to François Hollande in the 2012 election, has announced that she will run in 2022. 

Only the survey results for the first round of the vote have been made public for now, with Le Parisien reporting what it says are the poll's second round findings from the poll.

The study was commissioned by the CommStrat firm and the daily L'Opinion and was carried out online between January 19 and 20.

It suggested National Rally leader Le Pen would narrowly beat Macron in the first round, gaining 26 to 27 percent of the votes against his 23 to 24 percent. 

If accurate, the survey indicates that Macron and Le Pen are set to duel for the presidency for the second time.

In 2017, Macron beat Le Pen in the second round, gaining 33.9 percent of the votes to her 66.1.

However, the margin between the pair was much smaller in the first round of voting, with Macron winning 24 percent and Le Pen taking 21.3 percent. 

Macron's leadership has been under scrutiny over labour disputes that sparked huge protests beginning in 2018, as well as his handling of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

His response to the murder of schoolteacher Samuel Papy in October last year and a subsequent attack on a church in Nice drew condemnation from Muslims at home and abroad and reinvigorated a divisive debate in French society around the role of religion in the public sphere. 

These challenges are unlikely to be fully resolved in the fifteen months before the next election and will be inherited by the next French president. 

Another challenge is a growing wave of Euroscepticism in France, which could see voters favour Le Pen.

While she has dropped her calls for France to leave the EU amid a party rebrand following Macron's 2017 victory, the National Assembly member is a strong advocate for EU reform. 

With campaigns yet to get under way, the results suggested by the poll could change dramatically but they appear to show gains for the far-right compared with previous surveys. 

A June 2020 poll carried out by Ifop-Fiducial placed Macron at 55 percent in the second round of voting against Le Pen at 45 percent. 

The Harris Interactive poll reported by Le Parisien appears to show that Macron's already-slim ten point lead has shrunken even further.     

This month's survey was conducted with a sample of 1,403 French people over the age of 18, including 976 registered voters.  

This article has been adapted from its original source.


© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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