FIGAROVOX / MAINTENANCE – In an Ifop Fiducial survey for Le Figaro and LCI, the two 2017 finalists maintain their lead in the first round. While the right-wing candidates stagnate, Bruno Cautrès considers that the electorate of the Republicans is confused by the hesitations about the primary.
Bruno Cautrès is a CNRS and CEVIPOF researcher. His research focuses on the analysis of political behavior and attitudes.
FIGAROVOX. – In an Ifop Fiducial survey for Le Figaro and LCI, the two 2017 finalists keep their lead in the first round. Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have they endorsed any possible opposition?
Bruno CAUTRÈS. – We must always remember that the polls of voting intentions must be read from a dynamic perspective: for the moment, everything seems indeed to announce a second Macron / Le Pen round. But we are still 7 months away from the presidential election, this still represents 12% of the time of Emmanuel Macron’s mandate, which is not nothing. Beyond this single aspect, it is much more the content of this final straight line and the sequence of events that will occur that must hold our attention in order to understand the dynamics of voting intentions in the coming weeks and months. If several of the key players in the presidential election have already left or in the starting-blocks, it should be remembered that we are still in the pre-electoral phase. The pre-campaign, this period that lasts several weeks before the official campaign, has not even started.
In addition, we do not yet know the final list of candidates and their final number. Likewise, if we already know that an important part of the questions on which the candidates will debate will concern crisis management (and not only the health crisis, but also that of the yellow vests) during the presidency of Emmanuel Macron as well as the major sovereign issues, we do not yet know how these themes will be treated by the candidates and other potential themes (public deficits, state reform). In short, we have to start looking closely at the voting intentions, but things are bound to change at some point.
For the moment, the voting intentions scores of the two center-right candidates are treading water more than momentum.
Valérie Pécresse remains in the wheel of Xavier Bertrand, who struggles to win in the polls. Can the right create a surprise for the upcoming election?
I observe that in the Ifop survey you are talking about, Xavier Bertrand maintains his advantage over Valérie Pécresse and it is a gap of 3 points which separates them (17% against 14% of voting intentions). The margins of error of these two vote estimates overlap a bit, but for Valérie Pécresse and Xavier Bertrand to be almost tied requires a scenario where the voting intention for Xavier Bertrand would have been overestimated by the poll while in at the same time, the intention to vote for Valérie Pécresse would have been underestimated. As this slight advance of Xavier Bertrand is repeated, for the moment in any case, from poll to poll, it still means something.
What strikes me the most is above all that, for the moment, the voting intentions scores of the two center-right candidates are treading water more than dynamic. This is undoubtedly linked to the fact that their campaigns are only just beginning and perhaps especially that the center-right electorate is a little confused by the hesitations about the primary and dubious about its effect and its interest. It should also be noted that a candidacy of Eric Zemmour lowers the voting intentions of Xavier Bertrand and Valérie Pécresse by 2 points, which does not seem much but seriously threatens the third place of Valérie Pécresse: in the case of ‘a candidacy of Eric Zemmour the president of Île-de-France is only three points above Jean-Luc Mélenchon (respectively 12% and 9%) while it is six points difference for Xavier Bertrand (15% against 9%). If we apply the calculation of the margins of error, this can mean that a Jean-Luc Mélenchon in good shape is perhaps almost on a par with a Valérie Pécresse in small form in the event of Eric Zemmour’s candidacy… To again, it is necessary to recall here all the methodological precautions recalled above concerning the voting intentions at 7 months before the poll!
In the second round, voters who are not right-wing or center-right could vote Valérie Pécresse or Xavier Bertrand to sanction Emmanuel Macron …
Xavier Bertrand would however be the only one capable of beating Emmanuel Macron in the second round. Is the insurmountable obstacle still the first round?
Yes for the moment. This is not the first time that a poll of voting intentions shows that Xavier Bertrand is given a winner both against Marine Le Pen and against Emmanuel Macron in the second round. For Valérie Pécresse the poll gives 50/50 against Emmanuel Macron and a victory against Marine Le Pen. For right-wing voters, the prospect of one of their own being able to equalize or beat Emmanuel Macron should normally be a very motivating prospect. Will this motivation be sufficient to propel this candidacy capable of beating the Head of State in the second round? This is what is at stake for the LRs and for voters and supporters of the right and center right.
Beyond that, the stake is also that the political movements which embody the right, in particular of course LR, to give content to their campaign: what does it mean, for this political movement, the fact that its sympathizers and potential voters do not qualify the? one or one of theirs in the second round but make him beat the head of state if this qualification in the second round happened? It is also the fact that for the second round voters who are not right or center right could vote Valérie Pécresse or Xavier Bertrand to sanction Emmanuel Macron … Sacred paradox all the same! I expect a lot from the results of the large survey consultation conducted by Ifop with a large sample of supporters and potential center-right voters to better understand this apparent paradox.
The presidential game has only just begun, the election will be competitive and exciting! Nothing is written in advance, nothing is played; let us never forget that at this stage many voters hesitate, are undecided, do not know whether they will vote or abstain and that if the polls gave them the possibility to do so, many of them at this stage, would express multiple choices.