What’s shaping the Macron-Le Pen presidential stand-off? — Analysis

Older voters who prefer the status quo, or young dissatisfied ones – who is more motivated?

French voters will head to the polls Sunday to elect their next president. Will it be the same result as the 2017 election. Five years ago, the same Macron-Le Pen matchup resulted in a blowout, with Macron winning with 66% of the vote against Le Pen’s 34%. French culture is a constant phenomenon “Republican Front”It was again struck. All other first-round voters voted for Macron rather than Le Pen. The fear that Macron will be elected is especially strong among older French voters. “far right,”It is overwhelmingly opposed by the majority of voters. But, why?

It all started when the predecessor of Le Pen’s National Rally party – the National Front, led by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen – benefited from former Socialist French President François Mitterrand’s openness to smaller parties’ electoral participation in the 1985 legislative elections, and ended up winning 35 seats in the National Assembly. Mitterrand is long accused of inviting the extreme right into the power corridors as an attempt to divide the establishment and ensure his traditional left Socialist Party’s dominance for many years.

However, much has happened since then. Both the left and right have collapsed. After failing to obtain the minimum 5% of votes necessary for state reimbursement of campaign expenses in the first round of this year’s election, conventional right Republican Party candidate Valérie Pécresse is currently appealing for donations from the French public to avoid having to cover €7 million worth of expenses (including €5 million from her own pocket). The Socialist Party, led by Anne Hidalgo (Paris Mayor), only received 1.7% support.

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Macron today has gathered together traditional figures from the left and right, and has successfully called them centrists and pragmatic defenders for the French establishment. Macron’s performance is not surprising to the French. Polls consistently show Macron’s popularity hovering around 40%.Macron’s approval is highest among retirees and lowest among young people ages 25-34, according to an Odoxa poll, and also among the non-executive working class.

It shouldn’t be surprising that these figures show the effects of Macron’s first five years in office: the Covid-19 outbreak and the conflict in Ukraine. Retirees are the least negatively impacted by – and arguably the biggest beneficiaries of – Macron’s heavy-handed pandemic management and vaccine mandates, which have resulted in working-class job loss for noncompliance. The older demographic is also unaffected by Macron’s vow to raise the retirement age to 65. They’re more risk averse and susceptible to the suggestion, often cited by analysts in the French press, that a vote for Le Pen could bring political instability and unforeseen consequences for both France and for Europe. Meanwhile, younger, working people with families are feeling the pinch of Macron’s policies which have helped antagonize Russia over its military operation in Ukraine in the absence of a plan to manage the blowback to the French and EU economies as a result of anti-Russia sanctions.

Younger and working-class French voters are therefore more willing to take a risk on something new, given Macron’s evident failure to mitigate chaos over the past five years. 

According to a new Democracy Institute survey of French voters, the most important issue for them, by far, is inflation, with more respondents disapproving of Macron’s handling of the Ukraine crisis that has contributed to it, and more than half asserting that the European Union sanctions against Russia, championed by Macron, hurt France more than they did Russia. Respondents consider Russia only 20%. “the greatest threat to France” (with China and terrorism ranking ahead), and more French voters agree than disagree with Le Pen’s position that France should re-exit the NATO integrated command.

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So, in reality, even with older voters overwhelmingly backing Macron, Le Pen’s more unconventional and non-establishment postures are nonetheless seducing French voters who aren’t thrilled about Macron’s leadership, particularly in the economic realm.

The campaign’s final days are marked by the involvement of Scandals. Macron has tried to justify the increasing use of global “big consulting”A French Senate report reveals that the French government had aided several million taxpayers to fund the acquisition of these firms under his control. While representing large tech companies and major pharma, these facilitators of globalism advised France’s government regarding Covid vaccines. example. It’s not difficult to imagine how such conflicts of interest can result in government-imposed mandates that favor special interests over science to the detriment of democracy and basic freedoms. 

Le Pen faces an unpleasant disclosure just before the final round. The European Union’s fraud agency has just accused her of misusing public funds during her time as a Member of the European Parliament. This is the result of a long-running investigation, raising suspicions regarding political motives.

Le Pen is known for her pushback against supranational top-down EU governance – in contrast to Macron’s cooperation with it – and has been consistently outspoken about the need for France to regain more independence and sovereignty. Her far-left opponent, Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the France Unbowed party, has a similar position to Le Pen’s on the EU. If all the voters of Le Pen’s first round voted for him in an anti-establishment grand coalition, that would result in a political tsunami. Each candidate has insisted on less blind cooperation to the EU to the cost of French citizens. While Macron has spent five years acting as its most cheerleader while refusing protection for its citizens against the effects of the US military and economic ambitions.

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Both Mélenchon and Le Pen also converge on the need for less obedience to Washington. Mélenchon favors a socialist safety net while Le Pen has gradually been moving towards more laissez-faire policies that achieve similar results with less government interference. Macron supports government-issued “cheques” to offset increased energy and food prices, Le Pen has vowed to reduce sales tax on such items in order to leave more money in consumers’ pockets. 

Yet, despite the similarities in their objectives, Mélenchon has called on his backers not to give Le Pen a single vote in the second round. His longstanding view is that Le Pen – who is against Macron’s Covid mandates and has come out against Macron’s position of arming neo-Nazis in Ukraine – must be opposed at all costs. As a result, 30% of the votes from Mélenchon’s close third-place finish to Le Pen’s second-round qualification (22% vs 23%) are projected to go to Macron, according to a new BVA poll, compared to just 18% to Le Pen. An estimated 52% of Mélenchon voters either plan to abstain or cast a blank ballot in the final round.

And it’s precisely this abstention, blank, or undeclared vote where this election could play out. According to the Financial Times’ weighted average of all polls available to date, just 7% separates Macron from Le Pen heading into Sunday’s vote. It appears that the outcome may come down ultimately to voter motivation. Will French people over the age of 65 who view Macron’s conventional approach be more motivated to go vote in order to maintain the status quo at any cost, despite disappointment with the general direction of the country? Or will younger, working-class voters mobilize to seize the right to try something new with the only chance they’ll have to do so for the next five years?



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