Macron likely to face Pécresse in French runoff, poll shows
French President Emmanuel Macron looks likely to face Valerie Pécresse in an April election runoff, according to a poll showing support for the Republican candidate is growing.
Macron has 24% of voting intentions for the first round of next year’s presidential election while Pécresse has 17%, according to the Ipsos-Sopra Steria survey published Saturday by Sciences Po political research centre CEVIPOF, the Jean Jaures Foundation and Le Monde.
The first round of voting will be held 10 April 10, and is expected to advance to a runoff between the top two candidates on 24 April.
The monthly poll puts National Rally candidate Marine Le Pen and Eric Zemmour, her competitor on the far-right, neck and neck with 14.5% of voter intentions, a score that would knock both of them out of the second round.
On the left, Jean-Luc Mélenchon would get 8.5% as would the Green party’s Yannick Jadot.
The poll is the latest sign that Pécresse has solidified her place in the presidential race since winning her party’s nomination on Dec. 4.
The mood among French voters has shifted to the right since Macron’s election in 2017, potentially opening a path for Pécresse, a career politician who served as education and budget minister under former President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The survey of 10,928 people taken Dec. 7-13 is part of a monthly poll asking the same people about issues and voting intentions in the run-up to the election. The latest edition was carried out days after Pécresse won the party nomination, and had a margin of error of roughly plus or minus 1 percentage point.
Macron’s showing slipped from 25.5% in the the same survey in October, while Pécresse rose from 10%. Le Pen and Zemmour fell from 16%.
Macron, who hasn’t formally declared his candidacy for a second term, has long been the front-runner, but until this month polls have suggested he’s most likely to face Le Pen or Zemmour in the second round. That calculation is shifting after several recent surveys put the head of greater Paris region, Pécresse, in second place in the first round.
The findings put purchasing power, the coronavirus pandemic and immigration at the top of respondents’ concerns, ahead of the environment, crime and the health system.
The government is putting increasing pressure on citizens to get vaccinated, unveiling a plan on Friday that would see only immunized people receive a health pass giving access to bars, restaurants, medical facilities and cultural venues. It also plans to curb New Year’s Eve revelry, prompting the city of Paris to cancel its traditional fireworks display.
The French are interested in the election, with retired people showing the most enthusiasm. Of those surveyed, 61% intended to vote in the first round. A steady 86% of respondents expect Macron to reach the second round compared the October poll, followed by Le Pen and Plcresse as the most likely.
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