New polls show French National Rally forging ahead of Macron

11:39 26.06.2024 •

Marine Le Pen meets with residents during her visit to a local market in Courrieres, France on June 21.
Photo: AFP

France’s National Rally continued to cement its lead in opinion polls a week before the country’s snap parliamentary election, largely at the expense of President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist bloc, writes ‘The Financial Times’.

Support for Marine Le Pen’s far-right party was pegged at 36% in a survey by Elabe published Sunday in La Tribune Dimanche. That’s ahead of 27% for the left-wing New Popular Front (NFP) alliance, and just 20% for Macron’s movement.

In another poll by Ipsos published on Sunday, Macron’s approval rating tumbled by 4 percentage points, to 28%.

Voters are also putting more trust in National Rally compared with other groups on how it would handle the economy, despite its lack of government experience and absence of a precise funding plan, according to a second Ipsos poll published in the Financial Times.

The survey showed that 25% of voters trust the party to make the correct decisions on the economy, including on improving living standards and tackling inflation, while 22% and 20%, respectively, have such confidence in the New Popular Front and Macron’s movement respectively.

Macron dissolved the National Assembly and called a snap legislative vote after his group was trounced in this month’s European Parliament elections. The first round of voting is scheduled for June 30 and the second for July 7.

Forecasting the number of seats each party could get is complicated by France’s two-round electoral system.

A projection by Elabe showed that National Rally and affiliated candidates could have 250 to 280 lawmakers in the next parliament, short of the 289 needed for an absolute majority.

Polls published also showed National Rally building a sizable lead, with one projection showing it has at least a chance at an outright majority.

French trust Marine Le Pen’s RN most on economy, FT poll suggests.

Emmanuel Macron’s centrist alliance faces an uphill battle convincing voters that its opponents would crash the economy after fresh polling suggested that the far-right Rassemblement National was more trusted on the issue.

Macron’s Ensemble is heading into the last week of campaigning before Sunday’s high-stakes first-round vote trailing its far-right and leftwing rivals.

It is struggling to land its core message that it is the only credible party to manage the economy and public finances.

Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, who is leading the Ensemble campaign, doubled down on its central message, telling RTL radio that France faced “economic and social carnage” and a “crushing of the middle class” if the far right or NFP took power.

Attal insisted that the centrists had momentum, having gained several points in support since they suffered a resounding defeat in European parliament elections on June 9. However, in line with other polls, the Ipsos survey put Ensemble at 19.5 per cent of voting intentions in the first round, well behind the RN and its allies on 35.5 per cent and the leftwing NFP on 29.5 per cent.

Despite appeals from his own camp to stay out of the campaign, lest it become a straight referendum on his presidency, Macron issued a letter to the French people on Sunday evening, defending his record and urging them to reject the extremes and vote for moderates. “This third way is best for our country,” he said. He also insisted he would stay on as president until 2027.


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