Horror week for Hamon, momentum for Mélenchon

Parti Socialiste Presidential candidate Benoit Hamon ended a dreadful week confronted by an Odoxa poll for Le Point, released on Friday evening, giving him a record low of just 8 per cent in first round voting intentions.

On Wednesday came the blow of former PM Manuel Valls, the man Hamon defeated in the PS primary, giving his backing to rival centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron. This was only the most serious in a series of defections from PS ranks, notably including well-respected Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian. A series of public meetings failed to turn round negative perceptions of Hamon following an unsuccessful TV debate appearance, and his camp was reduced to mutterings about ‘treachery’.

The flipside of the former Education Minister’s discomfort was the surge in support for leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who is now eating rapidly into Hamon’s core support. His fast rise in the polls put him within a single point of third-placed Francois Fillon in Odoxa’s end-of-the-week survey, having made daily incremental advances in the two ‘rolling’ polls from Ifop/Fiducial and Opinionway. Increasingly confident in his public statements, Mélenchon was named by respondents to Ifop’s Friday survey as having run the best campaign of the week. 66 per cent rated his efforts as ‘very good’ or ‘quite good’, compared to 59 per cent for Macron and 54 per cent for Marine Le Pen.

Francois Fillon’s legal troubles continued as his wife and assistant Penelope was formally charged by magistrates on Tuesday. Although he slipped marginally in some polls, his relative resilience continues, and in secondary questions assessing his supporters’ certainty to vote he scores only slightly behind Le Pen – and ahead of all other candidates.

At the head of the race there has been remarkably little movement in either first or second round voting intentions. In the former, Macron and Le Pen remain within a whisker of each other. Of 13 polls conducted this week, Macron led in six, Le Pen in three and four were tied – the largest gap being a mere two points. Come the second round, Macron is still seen as winning handsomely, with the lowest margin to Le Pen given as 18 points.


First round voting intentions, range in per cent, week of 27-31 March:

  • Emmanuel Macron (En Marche!) 24.0 to 26.0
  • Marine Le Pen (Front National, FN) 24.0 to 26.0
  • Francois Fillon (Les Républicains, LR) 17.0 to 20.0
  • Jean-Luc Mélenchon (France Insoumise) 13.0 to 16.0
  • Benoit Hamon (Parti Socialiste, PS) 8.0 to 12.0
  • Others (6 candidates combined) 5.0 to 8.0

Second round voting intentions:
Macron 59.0 to 64.0
Le Pen 36.0 to 41.0

Polls included: Ifop/Fiducial (5 daily ‘rolling’ polls), Opinionway (5 daily ‘rolling’ polls), Ipsos-Stopra Steria (28.03), Elabe (29.03), Odoxa (31.03)


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