Archive for the 'France' Category


The French ban on opinion polls came into effect at midnight with Macron still ahead

Saturday, April 22nd, 2017

Will that hold good when real voting starts tomorrow morning?

France has some very tight laws on opinion polls including a complete ban on then being published on the day before an election. So the Wikipedia chart above represents all the polling that we will see until we get the exit polls tomorrow evening.

The young independent, Emmanuel Macron, is still in the lead and has seen it move up just a touch in the final few days. Le Pen is in second place with the Republican Fillon and the far-left Melenchon not that far behind.

There are a total of 11 candidates and the first round of voting involves narrowing this down to just to for the run-off a fortnight tomorrow

France has very high turnout rates usually around the 80% mark and there is no reason to think that it will be much lower this time. .

We should get news of the first French exit polls tomorrow evening after about 7 p.m. UK time.

The betting markets make Macron the strong favourite with a current 57% chance. Le Pen is down on 21% with Fillon at 17% and Melenchon at 5%.

The polling is so tight that it is within the margin of error for neither Macron not Le Pen to make it to the final.

UK betting interest has been the highest ever for a non-UK/US election. On Betfair alone £803k has been matched over the past 24 hours.

Mike Smithson


The French Presidential polls edge back a touch to Macron who is now odds-on in the betting once again

Thursday, April 20th, 2017


Tuesday’s shock announcement by Mrs May that there is to be an early UK General Election has rather overshadowed events in France where the country’s presidential election takes place on Sunday.

In political betting terms this overshadows the British General Election period with over the past week £1.4m being matched on Betfair alone.

Sunday sees the first round and if none of the candidates secures 50% of the votes cast, which is highly likely, then there will be a second election two weeks later. That will just be runoff of the top two.

Macron backers must be assured that his polling numbers have edged up as we have got closer to the big day. Le Pen is staying fairly constant which is 3 of 4 points below her high point.

With the top 4 running so close together it is hard to predict the final two with a degree of certainty.

Mike Smithson


If Macron makes it to the final two then surely he’s the next President of France

Tuesday, April 18th, 2017

Latest Macron-Le Pen polling

Latest Macron-Fillon polling

Latest Macron-Melenchon polling

The above tables from the excellent Wikipedia round up of French polls tell a consistent story – whoever of those closest on the first round ends up fighting Macron then the young independent looks set to be the winner.

Melenchon is the only one of the serious contenders who consistently gets into the 40s in hypothetical match-ups against Macron. Fillon fares worst with Le Pen in the middle.

    The big question is whether Macron’s performance in the first round on Sunday can match his polling.

Because he does not come from one of the traditional parties he cannot rely on a well-honed party machine to get the vote out – something that could be crucial.

Last time the turnout levels were very similar in both rounds.

Macron is still the favourite but he’s no longer the 65%+ chance that he was a month ago.

Mike Smithson


Fillon moves to second favourite in the French race after new poll has him within a point of Le Pen

Monday, April 17th, 2017

The battle for France is a four horse race


The latest French Presidential betting has Marine Le Pen with an 87% chance of making it to the final two

Friday, April 14th, 2017

But who will join her?

With the French presidential election moving into the final two weeks I thought it might be useful to look at the betting by concentrating on who will make it to the final two. That runoff election takes places a fortnight later on the Sunday after British locals.

There are lively betting markets on the first round of the election and I have taken the latest chances based on the Betfair Exchange for my chart above. These are expressed as a percentage.

Le Pen who has seen a decline in her opinion poll ratings over the past month is still a very strong favourite to make it to the run off. Whether she can win that is very much another matter and the polls suggests she cannot.

The battle between the other three is very very tight and things are very much within the polling margins of error with barely 4 or 5 percentage points cover all four in the race

My concern on Macron is that he does not have the established party organisation behind him and that might be crucial in terms of getting out the vote.

Fillon, who many regarded as damaged goods following the revelations about payments to his wife, has continued to poll strongly and is still up there. Given that only 3 months ago he was the strong favourite to win the presidency we cannot discount him yet. Then, of course, there has been the remarkable move of the far left contender, Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has seen a transformation of his position following strong TV debate performances.

Mike Smithson


A four horse race is now emerging in France following the rise of leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon

Monday, April 10th, 2017


With just 13 days to go till the first round of voting the big move in the polls has been the leftist contender,Jean-Luc Mélenchon, following what are being seen as strong TV debate performances.

One poll during the weekend had him on 19% just 4 points Le Len and Macron and at the same level as the Republican Fillon. For the moment he seems to have momentum with him and we do know that there are much higher proportion of don’t knows than we’d normally expect at this stage.

He is doing far better than in 2012 when as he was the candidate representing the Left Front (Communist Party of France, Left Party, Unitarian Left) and won just 11.1% in the first round.

Melenchon’s programmme includes a reduction in the working week to 32 hours and pulling France out of NATO.

Latest betting:

Macron 53%
Le Pen 24%
Fillon 17%
Melenchon 6%

The first rounds of French voting can often be difficult to predict. The old saying is that first time round people vote with their hearts – in the runoff they vote with their heads.

Mike Smithson


Richard Nabavi on Emmanuel Macron’s Cohabitation Conundrum

Saturday, April 8th, 2017

If the polls are to be believed, in a few weeks’ time Emmanuel Macron will be president of France, having easily seen off Marine Le Pen in the second round of voting. Pundits will opine that populism has been defeated, and chaos averted. This will be a premature verdict.

Macron’s rise to pole position in French politics has been an astonishing one. He has never held elected office before; indeed the presidential contest is the first election he has ever fought. His career was in the civil service and in banking, before he was appointed first to President Hollande’s staff and then directly to Minister for the Economy, a post he held for just two years. He has no political party behind him in the conventional sense; he was previously a member of the Parti Socialiste, but has now set up his own ‘movement’, En Marche!, which claims to have 240,000 members but which does not have a single mayor or assembly member, and which has zero electoral experience. The lack of electoral expertise and of political hinterland is breathtaking for someone who seems likely to reach the highest office in one bound.

This matters, because the powers of the president in the Fifth Republic are actually quite limited. The president appoints and works with the prime minister, but that prime minister has to have the support of a majority of the 577 members of the National Assembly. Currently the Parti Socialiste and its allies have a majority, but once the presidential election is out of the way, there will be (in June) a second national election, this time for the Assembly. The new president will have to try to muster a majority in the new Assembly, which is where the legislative and budgetary power lies.

There have been three periods in the Fifth Republic where the president and the prime minister have been from opposing sides, most recently from 1997 to 2002 when Chirac was president and the socialist Lionel Jospin was PM. The French call this ‘cohabitation’ – and it wasn’t a happy experience for the presidents involved, who were reduced to largely ceremonial roles.

From a standing start, with no experience or organisation and few local political champions, En Marche! has no realistic chance of winning a majority of the 577 seats, although Macron says they will stand candidates in all districts. Therefore he will need to try to build a coalition of support from other parties – but from whom, and on what terms? The socialists are unpopular and in disarray; the centre-right Les Républicains are in slightly better shape, but are divided by the allegations against François Fillon, and in any case are not natural allies of Macron. Given this fragmentation in French politics, it may well be that no party grouping wins a majority, leaving Emmanuel Macron as a lame-duck president without even a coherent parliamentary group he can cohabit with. From a British point of view, we could find France weak and unpredictable during the Brexit negotiations.

Assuming the French do elect Macron and reject Le Pen, they may have rejected populism, but it’s not clear that they will have avoided political chaos, at a time when France, and Europe as a whole, face multiple serious challenges. Before Macron can even start to implement his programme for France, he needs to overcome not one but two major electoral hurdles – of which winning the presidency currently looks the easier.

In case you’re wondering: Marine Le Pen would have the same problem, to an even greater degree; currently her Front National has just two members in the Assembly, and the mainstream parties will not support her under any circumstances.

Richard Nabavi


French polling watchdog intervenes after Russian report that Fillon’s now ahead in polls

Monday, April 3rd, 2017

Fillon moves sharply in the betting to 19% at Macron’s expense

All the movememt in the French betting in the past 24 hours has been to the Republicn candidate, Francois Fillon, following a Russian news report quoting a Russian “poll” that he’s now in the lead. This is the Telegraph report

“..In a statement released on Sunday, the watchdog said the survey could not be described as representative of public opinion and that Sputnik had improperly described it as a “poll” because it did not fulfill the legal definition of the term under French law.

“It is imperative that publication of this type of survey be treated with caution so that public opinion is aware of its non-representative nature,” the commission’s statement said.

Sputnik published a similar online survey by the same firm in mid-February, also showing Mr Fillon in the lead while opinion polls were placing him third.”

There’s a lot of nervousness in Paris about the Russian involvement in the election and it appears that the Putin gang don’t want Mr. Macron.

My guess is that we’ll see a lot more of this in the next three weeks.

French law has very strict controls over political polling including what and what cannot be descirbed as a poll.

It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that there will be an attempt to influence the betting markets as well.

Mike Smithson