Tuesday, 8 March 2011


The French elite didn't like the last poll which showed Marine Le Pen ahead of the leaders of the mainstream right-wing and left-wing parties in France in voting intentions for the presidential election next year. So they ran the poll again, adding a few new hypothetical candidates who they thought might bring her down a bit, including Dominique Strauss-Kahn (DSK), the head of the IMF, who is judged very likely to be the Socialist Party candidate next year and who has previously performed well in polls.

Alas, for the French establishment, Marine Le Pen came out on top of the new poll too. In fact, this second result was even more interesting than the first because it showed that in a three-way-contest between Le Pen, Sarkozy and Strauss-Kahn, Sarkozy would be knocked out in the preliminary round, leaving Marine Le Pen to face off against DSK for the presidency. That is a contest she might actually win, as the UMP voters could be tempted to vote for her rather than the Socialist. Recall what happened the last (and only) time a Le Pen made it to the presidential run-off in 2002. There, the contest was between Jean-Marie Le Pen and Jacques Chirac, leader of the mainstream right-wing party in France. The traditional left-wing voters of course voted for Chirac to stop Le Pen. Almost certainly, that pattern would repeat itself if the socialist candidate was knocked out in the preliminary round, leaving Marine Le Pen to compete against Sarkozy. If, however, it is Sarkozy who gets knocked out in the first round, Marine Le Pen would up in a run-off with the Socialist candidate. That is a contest she might very well win.

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