New poll confirms Le Pen surge

New polling from the research firm Ipsos has confirmed the results of a recent Harris poll showing Marine Le Pen on course to once again make the second round of the French presidential election, and to run incumbent Emmanuel Macron significantly closer than she did in her 2017 effort.

The comprehensive Ipsos poll looked at a range of different scenarios for the first round, factoring in different lead candidates for various French political parties, and concluded that Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron will meet in the run-off election in each case.

Le Pen maintained narrow leads over Macron in every scenario except for one, in which Anne Hidalgo secures the nomination of the Socialist Party and Éric Piolle is the candidate for the French Greens. In that one scenario, Macron leads Le Pen by two points in the first round.

In all of the scenarios, both Le Pen and Macron take about a quarter of the national vote each – leaving the traditional parties by the wayside just as they did four years ago.

The figures for the eventual run-off are less encouraging for Le Pen than last month’s Harris poll, which put her just two points away from the Presidency. The Ipsos numbers show Le Pen on 44% to Macron’s 56%, giving Macron a sizable lead but not an insurmountable one.

In 2017 Macron won a whopping two-thirds of the vote with an alliance that stretched from the far-left to the centre-right in a bid to beat the hardliner Le Pen, leaving her with the support of just 33% of French voters.

The 11 point rise in her fortunes puts her closer to the Presidency than to her prior performance, just as her 2017 outcome improved massively on the 18% won by her father Jean-Marie Le Pen when he made the second round in 2002.

The Ipsos polling, which concluded its fieldwork last Thursday, will not have fully captured the French national response to the deepening EU crisis over vaccines. Just this weekend chaos broke out in Paris as Yellow Vests clashed with cops, in a sign that things may well be reaching boiling point for the French premier.

In a sign that Macron is already spooked by the looming threat of Le Pen and her surging National Rally, it emerged last week that the President has dropped his 2017 vow to shake up France’s electoral system precisely because of her growing popularity.

Top En Marche! politician Christophe Castaner went so far as to admit the plans had been scrapped because “I am not in favour of bringing 100 RN MPs into Parliament.”