News & Politics

Leaked Poll of French Election Has Le Pen in the Lead, Followed by Conservative Fillon

France's far-right National Front party leader Marine Le Pen waves to her supporters as part of a May Day party lunch in Paris, France, Sunday, May 1st, 2016. Jean-Marie Le Pen, a founder and the decades-long leader of France's far-right National Front, declared Sunday that his daughter, Marine Le Pen, the party president who has expelled him, will lose next year's presidential race if she fails to unify the party. (AP Photo/Kamil Zihnioglu)

Belgian newspaper La Libre got its hands on a new poll of the French presidential election “conducted by one of the candidates’ teams.” If these results play out today, we’re going to experience a political earthquake

Last night, LaLibre.be unveiled the figures of the latest poll conducted at the request of a candidate’s team at a well-known polling institute after the attack on the Champs-Elysees…

Marine Le Pen would be leading with 26%. François Fillon would be slightly ahead of Emmanuel Macron with 22%, against 21% for the former Minister of Economy of François Hollande. The two candidates, however, remain within the margin of error, as in other polls published this week.

According to the poll of polls, Macron is still in the lead, but he has lost support in the last couple of weeks — and especially in the last few days. Most experts believed that the recent terror attack in Paris would affect the elections. According to La Libre, that is exactly what has happened:

Due to French electoral legislation and in order to protect our source, we can not disclose the technical details of this investigation. Remember also that a poll is a “photo” of opinion at a given time. That said, the trend seems to be influenced by the terrorist threat that made a remarkable comeback at the very end of the election campaign, although the vote remains particularly tight and still uncertain given the margins of error of the investigations.

It goes without saying that whichever campaign leaked this information obviously hoped to benefit from it, which points us in the direction of either Fillon or Le Pen. Be that as it may, that doesn’t mean that the poll is wrong. Candidates want to get their polls right so they know what to expect on election day and whom to reach out to. A candidate with a bad pollster is a candidate who has lost before voting even starts.

This poll is good news for Le Pen not only because it has her in first place, but also because out of every possible opponent she may face in the second round, she systematically polls best against Fillon, the Republican candidate who’s involved in several controversies including a corruption case. Earlier this month, Le Pen was losing 47% to 53% in a head-to-head matchup against Fillon. That’s significant because La Libre‘s poll indicates she has more momentum now than ever before. As we all know, in politics, creating momentum is half the game.

In other words, I was too rash in writing off Le Pen’s chances. She will certainly not be the favorite in a two-way race, but hey, neither was Donald Trump last year. And guess who’s sitting in the Oval Office today?

Having said that, a Fillon comeback is, of course, also a surprising and even downright shocking development. For a while, people thought he was down for the count. If this poll is correct, rumors of his premature death were extremely exaggerated. And let’s face it, if he ends up number two today, he is the favorite to win the runoff against Le Pen. That would truly be a fascinating political comeback story.