Mon Apr 10th, 2017 at 08:09:56 PM EST
With two weeks to go until the first round, the Presidential contest has entered the official phase: since this Monday, the media are obliged by law to give equal time to each and every candidate, regardless of notoriety, or big party backing her or him. Each candidate will also have the opportunity to air their own 15 minutes segments for free on public TV.
For instance, Philipe Poutou, a factory car worker at a Ford Motor Company plant near Bordeaux, running for the Trotskyst "New Antcapitalist Party", will get the same air time on national television than the other candidates like Macron, Fillon or Le Pen.
Since my first diary, the race for the coveted second round runoff on May 7 has been led by Le Pen and Macron in the polls. The recent developments seem to be Macron's support tapering off, but still keeping in the same range as Le Pen, with Mélenchon clearly rising over Hamon, the official PS candidate that many PS officials are openly betraying.
The scandal ridden Fillon is still polling several points behind the two front runners and about level with Mélenchon. But no matter what, even though this looks like "a four horse race" (to quote eurogreen), there's only room for two in the second round. So who will they be?
Frontpaged - Frank Schnittger
We have to be careful with the polls, for the usual reasons (failed to predict Brexit or Trump), but also for more specific factors in France.
The polls didn't see Fillon winning the right wing primary last November, until the last days: however, this was the first time such primaries were run in France and it was difficult for the pollsters to "adjust" their model due to the lack of previous comparable elections.
The French pollsters have also been notorious for under-counting Le Pen voters. Then again, there are several previous elections where the Front National has gathered a large share of the votes and there are more "precedents" to compare with. Also, it would be good to disregards the polls with less than a 1000 sample size.
The other unknown: the 18-24 voters didn't vote five years ago in 2012; how will they vote (or not) in two weeks?
This election is quite "peculiar" in that it is quite possible that no one of the two historical main parties, the PS and LR (or whatever their name is those days) will make it to the second round.
Again, because this situation is unprecedented, it makes any prevision even more difficult. Getting a majority at the parliament next June will also become a crucial question, and probably a major debate point before the second round: If Macron is elected, he intends to run candidates from his own En Marche movement, with support from Bayrou and probably a large number of people from the PS and LR.
As for Le Pen, she only has two MPs today but has been clearly aiming at enlarging her base by luring conservative voters who may be unhappy with Fillon.
In less than two weeks, we'll know who's in for the second round.