France election result prediction: Macron to win a second term? Expert weighs in
Marine Le Pen 'already succeeded' against Macron says host
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In the past month, France’s President Emmanuel Macron has seen his lead with pollsters sliced in half, offering his rivals the chance to close the gap. Many analysts are predicting a repeat of the 2017 election where Mr Macron squared off against the right-wing candidate, Marine Le Pen, in a second-round run-off vote.
In France, presidential elections take place every five years and typically involve two rounds of voting, with votes of this scale rarely declared after the first round.
If no candidate receives a majority of the votes, then a second-round run-off, featuring the two leading candidates from the first round, will be staged two weeks later (Sunday, April 24).
Tradition dictates that voting always occurs on a Sunday.
Five years ago Mr Macron emerged victorious against Ms Le Pen with 66 percent of the vote to 34 percent.
According to most pollsters, Mr Macron is the favourite to win the election, though his lead has fallen somewhat in recent weeks.
Politico’s public survey has demonstrated that he now holds just a three percent advantage over his nearest rival – Ms Le Pen – having held a margin of 12 percent as recently as March 10.
His polling score with them is currently ranked at 26 percent, while Ms Le Pen holds a total of 23 percent – correct as of April 9.
The next nearest candidate, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, has a rating of 17 percent.
Professor Anand Menon, director of the think-tank UK in a Changing Europe, told Express.co.uk that “turnout will be key” for whoever wins the election.
He said: “I think the one thing that everyone is expecting is that turnout is going to be quite low. I don’t think it helps the turnout that both rounds are taking place during school holidays.
“So, that’s the one thing everyone is watching for is how many people actually bother to vote. There’s a real sense of anticlimax about these elections in France.
“I think at the moment if you look at the polling the most likely victory by quite some way is Macron winning, partly because the National Front has historically suffered from turnout problems.
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“So, they’re particularly vulnerable to low turnout or have been in the past. That being said, low turnout makes the whole thing a lot more unpredictable.”
When asked about the reasons why Mr Macron’s polling figures have dipped, Professor Menon explained there are potentially several factors at play.
He listed criticism of Mr Macron’s handling of the war between Russia and Ukraine, high levels of inflation in France and a “pretty good” campaign from Ms Le Pen as all being valid points.
Professor Menon also cautioned that the polling from France should be taken with a “massive pinch of salt” due to people being questioned about hypothetical scenarios.
One example of this could be where members of the public are asked whom they would vote for in the event of a second-round run-off vote between Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen.
He said: “There are many people in France who don’t particularly like Emmanuel Macron.
“I think a lot of those people if exposed to a few weeks of headlines about the potential of Marine Le Pen winning the election will swallow their dislike and head out and vote for Macron.
“But I don’t think they say that to pollsters. So, that sort of polling in France is notoriously inaccurate.”
If current polling figures are to be believed then it looks likely Mr Macron will face off once more against his old rival Ms Len Pen.
Pushed for an answer as to who would win in that particular scenario Professor Menon said while it’s not a “certainty”, he would expect the incumbent President to come out on top again.
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