Date: 22 Apr 2017, Politics and Current Affairs
Question setter: Mettletest Panellist

2017 French Elections

Will Marine Le Pen win the 2017 French Presidential Election?


Answer: No
Confidence level: 7%
Mean confidence level (all requests): 41.83%

Le Pen is a right wing, xenophobic, anti EU contender, whose views the liberal middle ground firmly reject. However, she has appealed to the disaffected working class of France, using much the same sort of rhetoric that served Trump so well. This election is the most unpredictable in recent history and 30% of voters are undecided. Le Pen is rated by many young people who would have rejected her racism in past times but who are drawn by her promise to change the status quo. After a period of stagnation, high youth unemployment and a state of emergency, a new order has strong appeal. Le Pen has also been mainly successful in suppressing the FN's most extreme views (though she did try to exonerate those responsible for deporting Jews in WW2). All this has created a consensus that she will sail through the first round of the election. Then the majority backing for the middle ground contender, Emmanuel Macron is expected to defeat her.This is most likely, unless Macron is not successful in the first round after all. If the growing popularity of socialist Jean-Luc Melenchon puts him in contention for round 2 then Le Pen will be in. Hence the cautious certainty rating...

Outcome: No
Score: 7
Mean score (all respondents): 32.17

Expert opinion:

Answer: No

Selected Expert Answer from Derek Wyatt:
It would be a brave man or woman to predict the French elections given the last extraordinary two years which have given us Corbyn, Brexit, May and Trump. I doubt if any punter made that sort of bet. So, naturally, anyone who puts his/her head above the parapet, risks his/her life.

The French Presidential elections are slightly different. Any number of candidates can seek the position. But unusually there are two elections (assuming no candidate wins an outright majority), the first is like an over large semi final political football match where there can only be two candidates who go forward to the finals.

This Sunday the candidates are Francois Filon, Emanuel Macron, Marine Le Pen, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Benoit Hanon and another six - to be frank - hopeless candidates. The play off is likely to be one from Filon, Macron and Le Pen though to be honest the polls cannot make up their minds. Luckily polls don't generally vote. So, my hunch is that Le Pen may no make the play offs but if she does she cannot win on Sunday week.

Answer: Yes

Selected Expert Answer from John Karslake:
The likely front runners are Jean-Luc Melenchon, Francois Fillon, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. Fillon is experienced but dogged by scandal, so Macron looks like the leading center candidate. Melenchon represents the left, cool on the EU and anti globalisation. Le Pen on the far right is xenophobic and anti Euro and may have undeclared support. Controversially, I think Marine Le Pen could pull it off. It is generally thought that she will get through the first round but then lose in the second, when most voters consolidate behind Emmanuel Macron. But this could all change if Jean-Luc Melenchon actually beats Macron in the first round. This COULD happen. Melenchon has led a vitalised campaign and shown a strong advance in the polls to level with one-time front runner, Francois Fillon. It is possible that he will win waverers who want to cast a protest vote against the status quo, the EU and globalisation, as represented by Macron. They would expect to be able to revert to safety in the second round but might find that they are left with Le Pen vs. Melenchon. What then? In this scenario Le pen would probably prevail and win the second round to become president.

Answer: No

Selected Expert Answer from Sir Jeremy Greenstock:
Sir Jeremy is away but here is message from his strategic advisory company, Gatehouse Advisory Partners:

The Gatehouse view is that Marine Le Pen will find it tough to successfully negotiate the 2-stage Presidential election process - despite the absence of a stand-out mainstream candidate. Her chances of success in a second round are low - but dependent on who she runs against. So we would suggest , No, Marine Le Pen will not win the 2017 French Presidential election.

Outcome: No

Comment on outcome from Mettletest Panellist:
Le Pen was heavily defeated by Emmanuel Macron, who won 66% of the vote vs. Le Pen's 34%. Macron had been narrowly ahead after the first round of voting and picked up votes from the left wing candidates and from Fillon's center right party. Macron did well across the country and best in areas with higher educated or higher income electorates. Even in areas of unemployment or predominantly blue collar jobs, Macron outdid Le Pen. Macron is a supporter of the EU, and his victory has been applauded by other leaders. Macron now faces the challenge of achieving a majority in the National Assembly for his new party, En Marche, in June.