Heading into last week’s round of the French presidential election, there was a lot of U.S. media hype about how incumbent President Emmanuel Macron was supposedly in trouble, and how Putin-aligned candidate Marine Le Pen could walk away with it all. That doomsday hype from the U.S. media ended after Macron finished in first place, and he and Le Pen moved on to next week’s two-way runoff. But the race is still crucial, and now major news is coming out of it.
Heading into the April 10th round of voting, the polling averages had Macron six points ahead of Le Pen, and he ended up finishing five points ahead of her – suggesting the polls in this race are indeed accurate. Now, heading into the two-way runoff on April 24th, the polling averages have Macron ahead of Le Pen by about eight points. That could be about to change.
Yesterday the news broke that French prosecutors are looking into allegations that Le Pen may have embezzled funds from the European Union. If this ends up being proven, it’s the kind of thing you can go to prison for. In the meantime, the question is how it’ll impact the election, which is just six days away.
The latest polling averages were updated the day before the Le Pen embezzlement news broke, meaning it’s not factored in yet. Over the next few days we’ll see if this Le Pen scandal ends up driving her poll numbers downward. Given that she’s already behind by eight points, she can’t afford to lose any ground.
This all appears to be good news for Emmanuel Macron. But in the end, elections like this come down to who puts in the most work down the home stretch. Nothing should be taken for granted. Those who want Macron reelected, or who fear just how much damage the Putin-aligned Le Pen could do, should strongly get behind Macron in these final six days.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report