Anti-Immigration, Pro-Big Government National Front's Le Pen Inching Up in Polls—At 44 Percent in Run-off Match-up

Both her center-left and center-right opponents are campaigning on much needed labor reforms, as well as tax and spending cuts, not popular with Socialists.



Marine Le Pen of the anti-immigration, pro-welfare state National Front, is improving her standing in some French presidential polls—she is expected based on her polling performance so far to make it through the first round of elections, while a corruption scandal that rocked the candidacy of Republican candidate Francois Fillon has reduced his lead in head-to-head polling with Le Pen to a 12 points. In the most recent poll of the most likely run-off scenario, Fillon topped Le Pen 56 to 44.

Le Pen's father, Jean-Marie, made it into the run-off against the incumbent Jacques Chirac, where the challenger was trounced 82 percent to 18 percent. In the first round, Chirac led with 20 percent and Le Pen finished second with 17 percent. Chirac received nearly 20 million additional votes in the second round, while Le Pen gained only 700,000. Polling in the 2017 election suggests Fillon, or whoever else makes it into the second round with Le Pen, cannot expect support as broad as Chirac received.

Some French leaders are warning that a Le Pen win is far from impossible. She has a 27.7 percent chance of winning according to prediction markets aggregator—within the range of Trump's chances of winning during much of the 2016 campaign.

"I think Madame Le Pen could be elected," Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former Republican prime minister, warned this month according to Euractiv, while another former prime minister, Socialist Manuel Valls, who ran unsuccessfully for the Socialist nomination for president this year, said it was dangerous to assume Le Pen could not win.

Le Pen has mixed a nationalist, Euroskeptic, Islamophobic and anti-immigration message with promises of increased social and welfare spending to expand the National Front's appeal, particularly relative to her most likely second-round opponent, Fillon, who is campaigning on much needed civil and government services cuts as well as labor market deregulation. The Socialist Francois Hollande's presidency failed in large part under the weight of unsuccessful efforts to get French government spending under control and to remove barriers to economic growth. Socialist voters, The Independent columnist Satyajit Das suggests, faced with the run-off choice of Le Pen and Fillon or a center-left candidate (the Socialist Benoit Hamon is not expected to make it into the second round in most scenarios), may choose Le Pen at a higher rate than French pundits are willing to admit. The center-left candidate, Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker and founder of the En Marche! party, is, like Fillon, is also running on labor reforms and tax cuts, two policies critical to improving France's economy but not popular with Socialist voters.

Le Pen has not been shy in trying to align herself with Donald Trump and with Brexit (she supports a French withdrawal from the European Union), and launched her campaign earlier this month with the slogan "France First." In response to Macron rising in the polls, she has adopted a Trump-like attack on the French media, accusing it of campaigning "hysterically" for Macron. Last year she praised Russia President Vladimir Putin as a real leader and called the EU the real enemy, and earlier this year she denied that Russia invaded Crimea, which is under the control of Russia but recognized by most of the international community as still being part of Ukraine.

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  1. “Pro-Big Government National Front””

    Remind me, which French political party is the “Small Govt” one?

    1. The Girondins. A little hawkish for my tastes, though.

    2. Breaking the stained glass ceiling.

  2. So the Frogs have no good choices, either. Well, they at least can take comfort knowing they deserve what they get more than America did.

    1. Trump just announced that he wants to give more power to the states.

      Hopefully that means a reduction in federal power.

      If not…

      1. You talking about how he wants to stick his Federal nose into State’s marijuana laws?

      2. Trump just announced that he wants to give more power to the states


      3. Give more power? More like return what was stolen by theft.

  3. This is gonna be fun!

  4. I think the French choices are even more depressing than the American ones.

    Out of the top 5, 3 of them are Le Pen, the Communist, and the Socialist. And the Socialist Party nominee is essentially the French version of Bernie Sanders (but further left, openly at least, because it’s France) because apparently Hollande and many of the other members of the party establishment are seen as too moderate by the base. I’m not sure how much of a difference there even is between his platform and the communist platform.

    Fillon has pretty good economic views (by French standards at least) but is pretty socially conservative, and even setting that aside, the corruption scandal reflects very poorly on him.

    Macron is probably the least bad option at this point. His views on economic issues are as good as you can hope for from a center to center-left candidate in France (trust me, tax and spending cuts, and deregulation of any kind are absolutely hated by most of the French left. Many of them consider guys like Macron to essentially be free-market fundamentalists) and clearly better than every other major candidate besides Fillon (who is tarnished by scandal). And his views on most other things seem better (or not as bad if you prefer that phrasing) than the other candidates from what I’ve read.

    1. How retarded are the French parties? I was told, candidly, by our tour guide in France about six years ago, that Obama was considered a right-winger by most French people.

      1. Meh, everyone has their goods and bads. Back in my socialisty days I sometimes made the mistake of saying something nice about the French healthcare system to a random Brit–not activists, just random folks–every now and again. I was without fail subjected to an extended harangue about how I was a fucking right-wing cowboy American Neanderthal, to say such a thing. They’d no doubt say the same if I said American gun laws should be like Continental Europe’s. Meanwhile the Brits are little flatter than the Americans in income inequality, and no way would they cheer when public-sector unions or farmers shut down the whole country like in Europe.

        Likewise, anyone in the bureaucratic socialist utopias of Northern Europe would be horrified about how hard it is to open a business in America, how high corporate taxes are, or how all our transportation infrastructure is publicly owned. Scandinavians would ridicule American parents for allowing their children to play with gendered and violent toys, and for not letting them walk to school in the driving snow and take their time getting home. And I’m sure Europeans everywhere would find a way to tell Americans that their uniquely strong antitrust laws are an example of right-wing worship of competition.

        Everyone got somethin’.

    2. Fillon would have been the clear least worst choice for conservatives and liberals everywhere. His Europhilia would have been hard, for people who feel strongly about that, but France is not one of those countries where you have very good choices if you do. If you’re a conservative or liberal Euroskeptic, you might not like the Republicans, but no way are you going to take the NF over them; just like in Spain, no way are you going to take Podemos over Ciudadanos or the Populares; and in Italy or Greece no way are you going to take the Five Star clowns, or the Golden Dawn or SYRIZA extremists over…well, I guess you have no really good choices there. It’s fucking Italy and Greece; what do you want?

      Not many countries get as good a choice as Fillon…or at least, as good as Fillon once seemed to be.

      1. Fillon did seem like a pretty strong candidate, at least by French standards, but I can’t overlook the blatant nepotism and corruption at taxpayer expense. Macron seems, by the standards of a European center to center-left candidate, to be a decent backup option, especially in comparison to how awful the other 3 major candidates are.

        1. I can’t overlook the blatant nepotism and corruption at taxpayer expense

          You’re not very French.

          1. That much is true.

  5. She supports French exit from the EU and still promises more welfare? Does she think the Krauts will just shovel it across the border?

    1. I think she thinks if she gets rid of the immigrants on welfare, there will be more for the French.

      1. I’m sure there will be more, but not nearly enough. And finding a place to ‘get rid’ of the immigrants is gonna be a task on its own.

    2. I’m imagining she sees a Danish model. In my dealings with the Danes, they are strict on immigration but laud the welfare state for natives (not everyone, as I have encountered a growing number who are tiring of high taxes and growing youth unemployment). Some view the EU as a Trojan horse to get those swarthy, criminal Eastern Euros and worse into the country.

    3. France’s net contribution to the EU is about plus $2 billion, so they save money by leaving, on top of ridding themselves of non-monetary obligations.

  6. First Brexit. Then Trump. Now Le Pen?

    I think Le Pen would be the most shocking of the three, given that it’s France.

  7. Ed is better than some writers on Russia ,but still cannot help himself when it comes to Russia. C’mon Ed! Russia “invaded” Crimea? What beach did the invading hordes land on? How many planes and tanks were used? How many thousands died?
    Last week he said Russia “invaded” Georgia in 2008. Maybe he should ask human rights organizations and nearly all journalists, who say Georgia fired on Russian peacekeepers who drove them back into Georgia.
    Russia has killed about 4000 by its Syria intervention but US has killed over a million Iraguis and is leveling Mosul right now. #nomoraleqivalence, Ed?

    1. Hey, it’s a new brand of retard.

    2. He calls it an “invasion” because armed troops from the Russian Army crossed into the Ukraine on the orders of the Russian President, who then declared the area annexed to the Russian Federation. That is an invasion. It is not a moral judgment. The Arab countries invaded Israel several times; in 1967 the Israelis invaded them right back. The Germans invaded Austria at the beginning of WWII, and the Americans invaded France at the end. It does not matter what equipment or manpower was required, nor whether the locals greeted them as liberators with roses and kisses or even begged them explicitly to invade, nor whether the invasion was justified.

      I don’t recall Ed being in the business of defending the actions of the American government in the Mideast nor anywhere else, nor of him speaking of moral anything, let along moral equivalence. You apparently think you are making him look obsessed with Russia with your comment on the matter. Believe me, that is not the effect.

      1. He calls it an “invasion” because armed troops from the Russian Army crossed into the Ukraine on the orders of the Russian President, who then declared the area annexed to the Russian Federation

        There are many ways of expressing that circumstance, all with different shades of meaning: “Russia invaded Crimea”, “Russian troops entered Crimea”, “Russia restored order in Crimea”, whatever.

        Calling it an “invasion” definitely is a value judgment, not just a factual description.

  8. I hope she gets it, I would take great pleasure in seeing another nail the EU coffin. Martin Shultz the German socialist and EU bureaucrat running for Chancellor in Deutschland is horrified at the thought of Le Pens election. Decades of sheise EU policies created the Le Pens of Europe.

    1. “Le Penis elected”

      1. The Penis mightier for $1000, Trebek.

  9. There’s a silver lining to a Le Pen presidency — the destruction of the EU would open space for trade-oriented European group free of French dirigisme>/i>. Say, a Northern European Economic Community of the UK, Ireland, Benelux, the Nordics, the Baltics, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, and Poland. Not dragged down by the idiot politics of Latin Europe.

    1. Not to crash on your parade or anything, but why would the destruction of the EU lead to a more economically liberal society? If Le Pen gets her way and trashes the EU, she’ll start increasing welfare spending like there’s no tomorrow. The idea of Europe being a beacon of classical liberalism is a pipedream; best you can hope for is a welfare state that doesn’t discriminate.

  10. Le Pen is the best of the Frog candidates. Bust up the EU.

    1. And best of all, her election would totally demoralize the left. Coming on the heels of Brexit and Trump, they might get it through their thick skulls that people are really, really sick of their shit.

    2. Pepe Le Pen.

      Best French name ever.

  11. Lockean Proviso no longer holds, for a great many resources. Some form of compensation (i.e. transfer payment) is a matter of Justice.

    “You starve” isn’t a great political motto. Both Trump and Le Pen, by accepting the Welfare State, get their respective Rights closer to a just political program, and one that can win.

    1. Lockean Proviso no longer holds, for a great many resources

      The only reason it doesn’t hold anymore is because the state has usurped those resources.

      Some form of compensation (i.e. transfer payment) is a matter of Justice.

      That’s like asking for leniency from a court because you’re an orphan… after you murdered your parents.

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  13. Nazism looks quite attractive when the only alternative is stone age islamic tyranny, like the southern half of the former Roman empire has suffered under during the last 1300 years with no hope of any improvement ever. The economy is just a detail, fighting the brutal violence of islam that abolishes all human rights for women and murders all LGBTQ and all Christians and all atheists, is more important than any tax reform. Western Europe now desperately needs brutal warriors in order to survive at all.

    Europe survived the nazis, but no country has ever survived islam (except India thanks to mass deportation of muslims). It is nazism or eternal slavery. Rather kill all of them than letting them kill all of us. Libertarianism is not an option when total war is raging.

    Fillon and Macron are more of the same, more islamic oppression, they were ministers just yesterday and actively created today’s Hell. I think the French people wants change instead. I think Trump will cleverly help Le Pen, as will the islamists unintentionally by committing new mass murders. Trump wants to negotiate bilaterally and get rid of collective super states like the EU and its existence is unthinkable without France, so if he can pull that off within his first few months, yeah I think he will give it a high priority.

    1. Well, to be fair, the French have more choices: socialism, fascism, or Islamo-fascism. That’s French democracy for you!

      As far as I can tell, the French never wanted actual liberty; their “libert?” was always fatally tainted with “?galit?” and “fraternit?” (after all, even the motto itself originated with a mass murdering left-wing bourgeois prick).

      1. Islamic immigration isn’t pretty. And the reaction against it isn’t pretty either.
        Hey, this is Europe! Europe makes business by killing lots of people. Look at the history of the continent. As long as history goes, back to the iron age or so, archaeology in Europe shows that people were routinely killed just in order to decorate the graves of others. With little improvement during the last century. Do not underestimate the mass slaughtering potential of Western and Central Europe, with France at its heart. If the non-muslims wake up with Le Pen, they could easily exterminate all muslims, but otherwise the muslims will keep on murdering everyone else. One of the parties has to be exterminated, there can never be any kind of negotiated peace with muslims.

  14. When Le Pen gets together with Le Phone, all hell is going to break loose.


  15. Le Pen has mixed a nationalist, Euroskeptic, Islamophobic and anti-immigration message with promises of increased social and welfare spending to expand the National Front’s appeal

    Well, the pro-big-government views are the results of decades of indoctrination by conservatives and social democrats; it’s not like the French have any choice in the matter or have any reason to know any better.

    French voters simply draw the rational conclusion that since they are going to be forced to live in a proto-fascist or socialist state by their political elites no matter who they vote for, at least they would prefer not to invite in millions of additional low-skilled people who despise social liberalism, despise their religion, demand lots of welfare and government services, riot in the streets, and destroy their schools.

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