Thursday, February 16, 2017
BOMBSHELL: Marine Le Pen is Now Favored to Win the Presidency of France
Today, the prediction markets posted an 8 point shift in percentage odds for the two leading candidates in the French presidential race. Marine Le Pen of the National Front is now favored to win.
As far as I am aware, this is the first time Le Pen has ever been the favorite.
Let me emphasize that she is now favored to win the presidency itself, not merely the first round of voting where she has been the favorite for many months. Le Pen will almost certainly win the first round by a substantial margin and (according to the prediction markets) go on to beat Emmanuel Macron of the leftist On the Move party or Francois Fillon of the centrist Republicans in the second round.
The National Front emerged as a major competitor in the 1988 presidential elections under Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie Le Pen. But until the last few years, it had never polled higher than 20%. In the 2002 vote, Jean-Marie Le Pen came in second in the first round of voting with 17% of the vote but then ;got embarrassingly crushed, 82% to 18% in the second round. This essentially showed that at that time, virtually no one outside of the National Front's circle of enthusiastic supporters would consider voting for the party under any set of circumstances.
In the 2007 and 2012 elections, Marine Le Pen failed to qualify for the second round, receiving 10% and 18% of the vote, respectively.
But against the background of increasing Muslim crime, rioting and terrorism, support for the National Front has recently increased. And it's reputation as an "extremist" party with little potential for cross-over support has been to some extent moderated or reduced.
The National Front has been dubbed "far-right," but this is quite misleading. the party is almost certainly more left-wing or socialist on economic issues than the Republicans. It attracts support from such seemingly diverse constituencies as the French working class, the homosexual community and traditionalist Catholics. Perhaps the two issues that define the party and unite its supporters are its populist stance against "Europe" and "the elite" and it's opposition to the further Islamization of France.
In some ways it's a similar coalition to that which got Donald Trump elected this past November.
It's important to note that the polls have not yet "caught up" to the prediction markets. As I reported a few days ago, the most up-to-date polls have Le Pen losing to either Macron or Fillon in the second round. But in recent democratic elections in the West, the prediction markets have been more accurate than the polls. Le Pen partisans might also take heart in the fact that even the prediction markets have under-predicted the strength of "anti-elitist" sympathies as seen in both the Brexit vote and the recent presidential election in the United States.