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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Coming Vote In France

Okay, we know it will be Marine LePen against Emmanuel Macron in just under two weeks in France.  The received wisdom is that Macron has it locked up.  After all, the media says that LePen is a far right extremist and Macron is an independent centrist.  The French have to go with the media's candidate; don't they?  Most likely, it will turn out that way, but it is far from the sure thing the media portrays.

Let's look at a few facts. 

1.  The polls that put Macron against LePen prior to last Sunday's first round of voting gave Macron a lead on average of over 30%.  In the polls taken after the identity of the two candidates for the final round became clear Macron's lead is 20%.  That's a loss of one-third of the margin.  There is still a 20% lead for Macron, but a shift of that magnitude is something that ought to set off alarms all over France.  If that shift continues, LePen could actually win.

2.  Macron is not an independent centrist.  He is a long time Socialist which, even in France, does not make him a centrist.  Most of the French know this.  In addition, LePen is not an extremist.  She is certainly a French nationalist and she is also a right winger, but, unlike her father, LePen has stayed away from extremism.  Many in France know that too.  One has to wonder if the non-stop mischaracterization by the French media of these two will actually help LePen and hurt Macron. 

There may not be enough time for the French election results to shift to a LePen victory.  She does, however, have a real chance to win.

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