‘He is toxic!’ Macron facing election nightmare as key swing voters ‘deeply dislike him’

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While the President came first in the first round of the French election on Sunday, Marine Le Pen achieved her highest first-round vote yet. Now, polling suggests the National Rally leader will soak up a good proportion of votes from those who backed candidates in the early state of the election but have since been knocked out.

Ifop-Fiducial asked voters after the publication of first-round results who they would back in the second.

The results showed the run-off voting could produce a very tight result, with Mr Macron projected at 38.8 percent and Ms Le Pen less than three points behind at 36.1.

Financial Times World News Editor Anne-Sylvaine Chassany said it would be particularly interesting to see how those who previously cast their vote for left-leaning candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon would act later this month.

She wrote in a post on Twitter that swing voters gave Mr Macron “the benefit of the doubt” in the last presidential election, but now “deeply dislike him”.

Ms Chassany said: “[They] even think he is as toxic as Le Pen (for different reasons).”

Perhaps anticipating the possibility of more left-wing voters considering putting their cross in her box in the election’s run-off voting, Ms Le Pen last week signalled she will be willing to appoint leftists in her Government if she comes top.

She told RTL radio she would “probably not” work with people on the ‘far-left’, but “could very well have people” closer to the “centre ground”.

Ms Le Pen clarified: “In other words, a sovereigns left, a left which supports re-industrialisation, the defence of our great industries.”

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Ifop-Fiducial’s polling also showed the vast majority who voted for the more right-leaning Eric Zemmour in the first round would throw their weight behind Ms Le Pen, along with around one third of those who backed Valérie Pécresse, Soyons libres (“Let’s be free”) party leader.

Meanwhile, 14.2 percent of those polled said they would abstain from voting altogether and 10.8 percent did not vote either way.

The results do not, however, consider those who chose not to vote in the first round of the election, the turnout of which was around 74 percent.

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Given the tight margins, voters who chose not to turnout in the first round but make an appearance in the second could make a noticeable difference to the end result.

Most pundits hold that Mr Macron will win re-election when voting takes place in less than two weeks’ time.

Many concede, however, he is facing a larger threat than he has in the past.

Those close to the President are particularly concerned by his failure to focus more on working-class voters, given many in France’s middle class are already more in-line with his programme.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin earlier this month warned Ms Le Pen is “dangerous” for Mr Macron and “she can win this election”.

Olivia Grégoire, Junior Finance Minister for Social Economy and Solidarity, also stressed the result cannot be safely predetermined.

She, quoted in the Financial Times, said: “In life as in politics, nothing is ever certain, nothing is ever won in advance. It’s essential that we mobilise.”

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