Poll Position

4 May 2024

Tony Barber of the Financial Times has kindly cited one of my posts here. Barber includes a recent poll of présidentiables ranked by favorability, which alarmingly places Le Pen and Bardella first and second, respectively. What’s more interesting, however, is to look at the candidates by acceptability rather than enthusiasm. The poll asks respondents to classify candidates according to how satisfied or dissatisfied they would be if a particular candidate were elected president. Possible answers are very satisfied, somewhat satisfied, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, somewhat dissatisfied, very dissatisfied, or don’t know. Interestingly, only two candidates are flatly rejected by a majority of voters (very or somewhat dissatisfied): Mélenchon (rejected by 63%) and Zemmour (rejected by 66%), of the far left and far right.

By contrast, François Ruffin, who stands quite far to the left, is flatly rejected by only 43%. The Communist Fabien Roussel is rejected by 44%,;the Socialists Oliver Faure and Bernard Cazeneuve by 45% and 44%, respectively; and independent leftist Raphael Glucksmann by 41%. To be sure, Le Pen and Bardella are rejected by 48% and 47%, respectively, which means that they are conceivably electable–the cordon sanitaire has been punctured–but still beatable. On the (center-)right, Wauquiez has the highest negatives, at 50%, while Attal,, Darmanin, and Bertrand are in the 40s. Édouard Philippe is slightly less repellent to voters at 39% negative, while the up-and-coming David Lisnard is at 41% (although indifferent voters, neither satisfied nor dissatisfied if he were elected) count for 47% of his total.

In short, enthusiasm is in short supply for all the candidates, and tellingly, the two politicians who are acceptable to the most respondents are Philippe and Glucksmann, the former currently out of office and the latter never having held office. Although Le Pen and Bardella enjoy the most enthusiastic support, there is considerable room for opposition to the RN to develop before 2027.


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