Macron election nightmare: Le Pen edging closer to victory as cost of living fury grows

Marine Le Pen 'threatening Macron in elections' says expert

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While Mr Macron had a strong start in the polls at the beginning of his election campaign, his lead has been dwindling over the last few weeks as his opponents have seen a surge in support. According to the most recent Ipsos-Sopra Steria survey of voting intentions, released on Saturday, April 2, support for the French President stood at 26 percent. In second place, Ms Le Pen had 21 percent support, up by a point from the day before.

The poll showed that Mr Macron would beat his far-right rival by 53 percent to 47 percent in a runoff.

A poll from Ipsos-Sopra Steria published one month earlier on March 5, showed that Mr Macron would win against Marine Le Pen by a wider margin – of 59 percent to 41 percent in the second round.

According to Paris based journalist Katy Lee, the narrowing of margins between Mr Macron and Ms Le Pen is a result of “fury” over the cost of living crisis, which she said could be the French President’s “undoing” in the election.

Ms Lee said that Ms Le Pen, who “campaigned for months on the cost of living”, is now in a “stronger-than-predicted position”.

She explained: “Soaring petrol and food prices, fuelled by the war in Ukraine, have become the driving issue ahead of the first round of the French election next Sunday.

“Opinion polls indicate a tightening race between Emmanuel Macron and his far-Right rival Marine Le Pen, who finds herself in a stronger-than-predicted position having cannily campaigned for months on the cost of living.

“After years of below-inflation rises in their pensions, retirees are among those feeling the pinch. Even in wealthy Arcachon, the elderly – many of them transplants from Paris and other big cities – are starting to feel the pain.”

Writing in the Telegraph, she added: “A study by the Molinari economic institute this week found that the tax burden leaves French employees’ take-home pay seven percent lower than the average, compared with five other major European economies.

“The study also found that taxes make doing business considerably less profitable in France than Britain, with post-tax profits 28 per cent lower in France.”

An IPSOS poll from February 2022 saw 52 percent of the French public list purchasing power as one of their top three priorities.

But just over 20 percent of people had a positive view of Mr Macron’s track record on purchasing power.

Émeric Bréhier, director of the political observatory at the Jean Jaurès Foundation, told french outlet The Local, said: “The question of how much money people have in their pockets is important to all electorates.

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“Generally, the discourse is ‘my salary has only increased a little but my costs are going up a lot’.”

Polls for the French election open in one week, on April 10.

The election is split into two rounds, with just two candidates progressing to the second round.

If polls are accurate, Mr Macron will progress to the second round, taking place on April 24.

It currently seems that Ms Le Pen will join him, bringing about a replay of the 2017 election when Mr Macron beat her with 66 per cent of the vote to 34 per cent.

Currently in third place is left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who also ran in 2017.

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