A second presidential run more complicated for Macron than for Le Pen

Bis repetita placent… However, it is not sure that certain things repeated twice please everyone as much. After 2017, for the second time, therefore, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen will face each other in the final round of the presidential election, the mother of electoral battles under the Ve Republic.

But for a moment, during the election night, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s supporters believed that the rise in extremis of their champion would allow him to outdo the far-right candidate. The reason: the polling stations of certain large cities which closed at 8 p.m. (and not at 7 p.m. as in many rural communes) revealed a significant difference in score in favor of the “rebellious” candidate.

Finally, the difference between the second (8,136,369 votes and 23.15% of the votes cast) and the third (7,714,949 votes and 21.95%) stabilized at 421,420 votes after the complete counting of the ballots. First place went to Macron with 9,785,578 votes and 27.84%. For the record, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing won against François Mitterrand in the second round of the 1974 presidential election with a lead of 424,599 votes cast, or 50.81% against 49.19%.

This second round score remains so far the closest of all the final presidential confrontations of the Ve Republic. VGE had won thanks to the vote of overseas voters. Coincidence or nod to history, nearly fifty years later, Mélenchon made a splash in this same electorate (Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, Guyana) in the first round of 2022.

The simple presentation of this situation shows that the protagonists of the second round of the presidential election are not two but at least… three. There is of course the one who would like to renew his lease at the Élysée and the one who aspires to sign one, but there is also the one whose the two previous ones want to share the precious remains – if we can qualify it that way, without be derogatory, the electorate of the historical leader of the “rebellious”. Because it is the problem they have to solve after this first round which had all the characteristics of a second.

Indeed, it was not only an undeniable “useful vote” in favor of Mélenchon that we witnessed on April 10, but also “useful votes” for the benefit of Macron and Le Pen who siphoned off the electorate. other candidates. If the leader of La France insoumise captured part of the vote –especially the vote of young people under 35 where it is the strongest– which could have applied to the three other left-wing protagonists (ecologist Yannick Jadot, communist Fabien Roussel and socialist Anne Hidalgo), the outgoing president and the far-right representative benefited from the same phenomenon of aspiration, to the detriment of Valérie Pécresse for the first and Éric Zemmour for the second.

And this took place in the last days of the campaign, if we are to believe the surveys on voting intentions. This sweeper car movement even seems to have been underestimated by the pollsters with regard to the candidate from the left of the left, since it was still generally given less than 20% at forty-eight hours before the ballot. An effective outreach campaign to this young electorate, less inclined than others to go to the polls, allowed it to break through that ceiling and improve on its 2017 score. 19.58% of the votes cast.

Clearly, part of the right-wing electorate has abandoned President Les Républicains d’Île-de-France to focus on a “useful vote” in favor of Macron. The result of this massive transfer is an industrial disaster for Pécresse which runs aground in fifth place. She obtains a score more than four times lower than that of François Fillon who finished third in 2017: 4.78% against 19.58%.

Beaten in the second round in 2012 (François Hollande against Nicolas Sarkozy), eliminated from the first in 2017 and 2022, the parliamentary and republican right will begin its third five-year term away from supreme power. Unheard of for her!

Same phenomenon inside the sphere of the far right where Le Pen has gradually taken over the voices that Zemmour had stolen from him during the previous months. The former president of the National Rally – Jordan Bardella is the interim president – ​​also benefited from a “useful vote” which increased at the end of the campaign. This had the effect of deflating the bubble of voting intentions that had focused on the former polemicist of CNews. As a result, he fell well below the 10% mark, winning 7.07% of the votes cast, i.e. 2,485,935 votes.

In this hunt for votes, Le Pen enjoys a definite advantage over Macron.

At the end of the first round, the electoral landscape therefore presents a tripartition – extreme right dominated by Le Pen, central axis channeled by Macron and radical left led by Mélenchon – from which are excluded the two formations of government which have structured the political life of the last forty years of the Ve Republic, namely Les Républicains (LR) and the Socialist Party (PS).

These two parties still have a local base (municipal, departmental and regional), but they no longer have a national base allowing them to access the highest offices of the State. Is it temporary or permanent? Difficult to answer with relevance and certainty to the question. At most, we can note that other major parties, the Radicals and the Communist Party, have taken, in the more or less distant past, this path of national obliteration, remaining “local parties”.

In any case, this new situation places the actress and the actor of the second round in a curious and unprecedented situation: that of seeking votes from the most important reservoir which was eliminated in the first round, that of Mélenchon, that is to say the one who ideologically and programmatically is the furthest from the projects of the two protagonists remaining in the running.

The electorate of the parliamentary right is divided, roughly speaking, into three thirds for the second round.

It should also be emphasized that in this hunt for votes, Le Pen enjoys a certain advantage over Macron, that of being able to count, without effort and without concessions on his program, on the postponement of an overwhelming majority of the votes of Zemmour, i.e. 75% to 85% of this electorate which, it should be remembered, represents nearly 2.5 million votes. This figure shows that she is in a better position than in 2017, the year when she only had the vote reserve of Nicolas-Dupont Aignan (1.7 million votes) who, this time again, called on his supporters (725,356 vote) to vote for her.

From the first reliable estimates known after 8 p.m., April 10, the eliminated personalities, in their great majority, apart from Zemmour and Dupont-Aignan, called to “block the far right”, April 24, without for might as well all come out in favor of Macron. Or, when they did, like Pécresse, it was more personally than in the name of their party. As proof, Éric Ciotti, representative of the wing located most to the right at LR and candidate beaten in the second round of the internal primary of this party, was quick to let it be known that he will not vote for the incumbent president.

The pollsters show, moreover, that the electorate of the parliamentary right is divided, roughly speaking, in three thirds for the second round: a third for Macron, another for Le Pen and a last for abstention, the blank or null vote.

Although Yannick Jadot (whose score is close to that of Pécresse, i.e. 1.6 million ballots) received no applause from his militant audience when he announced of his choice in favor of Macron for the second round to block Le Pen’s path, the presumed projections of the postponement of environmental voices are very different from those of LR. Indeed, the majority of this electorate (more than 50%) would refer to Macron while a minority (around 5%) would opt for Le Pen. A very large third would refuse this alternative which seems to be the choice of Sandrine Rousseau, beaten finalist of the European Ecology-The Greens primary (EELV) and close to Mélenchon’s positions.

For the two protagonists of the final game, the big chunk obviously remains the “rebellious” electorate whose sadness can easily be understood after this third failure of its champion when he was close to the goal, unlike in 2017. where he finished fourth. Those voices that can tip the balance one way or the other are in the line of fire.

The difficulty for Le Pen and Macron is to capture as much as possible without panicking their electorate in the first round and without distorting their political project. By this yardstick, the task is complicated for both but perhaps a little more for the head of state in office, who had to face an “anti-Macron front” aggregating the National Rally and La France insoumise throughout of his five-year term.

The question is whether a “republican front” that does not say its name can rise from its ashes.

Here too, the intentions to transfer votes expressed by the “rebellious” highlight, according to the institutes, a significant proportion of male and female voters (from 20 to 30%) who would choose a vote for the extreme right in the second round. Without it appearing in the eyes of those concerned, however paradoxical, as flirting with the politics of the worst. The level of rejection of Macron in part of this electorate is such (as is also the case in a large fringe of Fillon’s electorate in 2017) that the Le Pen bulletin has become the only vehicle for their anger.

The problem is that when the votes are counted, there is no sociological or scientific measuring instrument to separate anger from support. The beneficiary will take everything without sorting. Conversely, a third of this electorate would resolve to vote Macron (probably out of spite), and there too the beneficiary will not sort.

Even if the first projections of the polling institutes give a lead to the winner of 2017, it’s not very thick and, in any case, it has considerably melted away in five years. In fact, everything is still possible: hope for some (who are on both sides) or the worst for others (who are also on both sides).

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Faced with the various concerns, especially in European matters, raised by the possibility of a victory for the representative of the extreme right, which masks her ambition to deconstruct the Union in its current form, the question is whether a ” Republican Front” which does not say its name can be reborn from its ashes despite the political trivialization to which the daughter of the co-founder of the National Front was subjected during this presidential campaign.

Source: Slate.fr by www.slate.fr.

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