According to a recent poll by Elabe for BFM TV, if the French presidential election of last year were held again now, the far-right leader Marine Le Pen would beat President Emmanuel Macron with 55 percent of the vote compared to his 45 percent in a run-off vote. This is a significant change from Macron’s victory last April, where he defeated Le Pen by a margin of 58.5 percent to 41.5 percent, becoming the first French president to win a second term in two decades.
Head of Elabe, Bernard Sananes, said that Macron would struggle to retain his electorate, with only seven out of 10 people likely to vote for him again, while the blocking vote against the far-right would be much lower. Sananes added that Le Pen’s gains were impressive and she would progress in all electoral categories. However, he stressed that the polling was hypothetical and the results should not be over-interpreted, as the next presidential election is four years away and Macron will be ineligible to run again.
The survey results reflect the changing dynamics in French politics, with Le Pen seen as the biggest winner from months of protests over Macron’s unpopular bid to raise the retirement age to 64 from 62 currently. Far-left leader Jean-Luc Melenchon, who has supported protesters and strikers, has lost support according to the Elabe poll and another survey by the Ifop-Fiducial group on Monday, which also found a sharp increase in support for Le Pen. She has made clear her intention to stand for president for a fourth time in 2027.
Many politicians from different parties have warned in recent months that Le Pen stands to gain from the turmoil sweeping the country, as well as longstanding concerns about crime and immigration. Despite this, Le Pen has kept a relatively low profile during the massive protests and strikes, keeping her public statements to a minimum while maintaining discipline among her 88 MPs in parliament, who form the largest single opposition group. Le Pen quipped to AFP in an interview last month that she has succeeded in winning over her political opponents who seem to spend their lives telling everyone that she will be the next president.
The possibility of Le Pen succeeding Macron in the next presidential election in 2027 is reportedly a concern for the 45-year-old president, according to some of his allies.