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Exclusive polling: Emmanuel Macron strengthens his position after the first round of the French election

A YouGov and Datapraxis poll shows a swing towards the president as France readies for his showdown against Marine Le Pen.

By Ido Vock

Emmanuel Macron is on course to win the second round of the French presidential election with 54 per cent of the vote, according to a YouGov and Datapraxis poll seen by the New Statesman. Marine Le Pen, his far-right rival who also qualified on 10 April for the second round, would win 46 per cent of the vote.

The gap between the candidates has increased by six points since the last time the match-up was polled as a hypothetical, indicating movement towards Macron now that it is certain that he will face Le Pen in the second round. His share is up by three points while hers is down by three points, according to this poll, conducted on 12-14 April.

Emmanuel Macron is leading the second round of the French presidential election
YouGov and Datapraxis poll (12-14 April)

“Macron seems to be in a slightly stronger position going into Easter,” said Paul Hilder, the founder of Datapraxis. “Having watered down his unpopular retirement reforms and signalled to left-wing voters that he needs them, he has improved his numbers among key groups such as rural and lower-educated voters. But his situation remains fragile: it should not be this close.”

Ninety-eight per cent of first-round voters for both Macron and Le Pen are sure of their choice and will vote the same way in the second round, with just 2 per cent switching. Eighty-nine per cent of voters for Éric Zemmour, a hard-line anti-immigration radical, will go for Le Pen against 11 per cent for Macron.

Left-wing voters will be crucial to the outcome of the second round. The poll shows that voters for the Green candidate Yannick Jadot and the centre-left Anne Hidalgo split for Macron by over 90 per cent. However, about a third of voters for the left-winger Jean-Luc Mélenchon who have made a choice will abstain or spoil their ballot, while around one third will vote Macron and one-third for Le Pen.

“The biggest uncertainties for the second round remain turnout, and what Mélenchon’s voters and undecideds do,” Hilder said. “The widespread expectation that Macron will win anyway could depress turnout among left-wing voters and the left behind, who mostly dislike the president and are looking more towards parliamentary elections later this year.”

Older voters most strongly choose Macron, according to the poll. Sixty per cent of over-55s will vote for Macron, the highest margin of any age group. Voters with a secondary education or lower split for Le Pen by 53 per cent, while voters with a higher education degree choose Macron by 69 per cent. Those in rural areas now say they will choose Macron by 51 per cent, compared with 48 per cent in the previous poll.

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