Macron ramps up reelection efforts as rival gets poll boost
The French President has traditionally seen rivalry from the far-right in France, in the form of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally, and the newly announced candidate, Eric Zemmour, running for Reconquer. The split caused by two right-wing candidates may act in Mr Macron’s favour as the election approaches, yet it is likely that one will drop out in the second round.
More worryingly for Mr Macron is a surge in popularity by another centre-right candidate, Valérie Pecresse.
Ms Pécresse, who has been compared to a blend of Margaret Thatcher and Angela Merkel, has jumped six points over a month, to 17 percent.
And now she is neck and neck with Marine Le Pen for the qualification to the second round.
The jump in Ms Pecresse’s popularity came in the form of a poll conducted by PresiTrack for OpinionWay.
Emmanuel Macron is seeing his rivals gain fast
Marine Le Pen is seen as Macon’s main rvial
Presidential candidates have not stopped criticising Emmanuel Macron, in their eyes responsible for all the ills of the country.
Speaking during a trip to the central city of Troyes, Ms Pecresse said about Mr Macron: “He talks about reforms, but they are not done.”
She then ended by comparing him to François Hollande, that of the “great talkers” and the “little doers”.
With little more than 100 days before the presidential election, the candidates of Rassemblement National and Les Republicains are fighting for second place in the PrésiTrack barometer conducted by the OpinionWay institute for “Les Echos”, Radio Classique and CNews.
Eric Zemmour has split the far-right voters
Valerie Pecresse has gained six points in under a month
They are respectively credited with 16 percent (Le Pen) and 17 percent (Pécresse) of voting intentions, within the margin of error, far behind Mr Macron, credited with 24 percent of votes.
With a clear difference in dynamics compared to the last poll taken, Ms Le Pen loses four points, while the president of the Ile-de-France region makes a jump of six points over a month.
She is still below the result of François Fillon in the first round of 2017, and would be beaten today with 46 percent of the vote in the second round against the head of state.
However, the arrival of Ms Pecresse in the arena undoubtedly reshuffles the cards.
Bruno Jeanbart, the vice president of OpinionWay said: “This election is much more uncertain than we thought for a long time, because of the weaknesses of Marine Le Pen – the idea has taken hold that she will not win – but also of Emmanuel Macron – a majority of French people would like him to leave the Elysée.”
He added: “The only credible alternative, in the minds of voters, is in Les Republicans.”
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Against the backdrop of a weak left (28 percent of voting intentions spread over seven candidates, none of whom reaches the 10 percent mark), the battle is being played out more than ever on the right.
Ms Pecresse’s victory at the LR congress at the very beginning of the month has not died down.
If she is still at low levels among young working people and in the working classes, she has regained the advantage among the over 65s, the heart of the right-wing electorate partly captured by Emmanuel Macron: almost one in three would now vote for her and one in four for the outgoing president.
The incumbent President is facing a series of difficulties within France.
The loss of a submarine deal to Australia, the bitter taste left from the yellow-vest movement, accusations of Islamophobia and the ongoing battle with Britain over the so-called fishing wars have dented Mr Macron’s popularity.
Mr Macron is still predicted to win the election
With Olaf Scholz also becoming the new German Chancellor, any hopes of Mr Macron leading the way in the EU have also been dashed.
However, in spite of many issues, the president remains the great favourite of the election, with 41 percent of those polled and even a third of Les Republicans supporters believing that he will be re-elected in April.
Some 51 percent of respondents think Ms Pecresse is “a good candidate” and 39 percent that she would make “a good president”, against 48 percent and 42 percent respectively for Mr Macron.
No less than 44 percent of Mr Macron’s voters in 2017 think that his rival would make a good tenant of the Elysée.
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega