France: Far-Right Exceeds 30% In Polls, Widens Gap With Macron’s Renaissance


By Paul Messad

(EurActiv) — France’s far-right Rassemblement National (RN) surpassed 30% in the latest polls for the European elections, moving further away from its main rival – President Emmanuel Macron’s fading Renaissance party – while its far-right rival Reconquête! slipped and the Socialists clawed back some ground.

A poll by Ipsos unveiled on Monday (March 11), canvassing more than 11,000 people, showed that the RN (Identity and Democracy, ID) list rose to 31% of voting intentions, while the coalition of the presidential majority, Renaissance – MoDem – Horizons (Renew), fell further to 18%. 

The Socialist Party – Place publique coalition (Socialists and Democrats, S&D), led by MEP Raphael Glucksmann, rose to 11.5% (+1 point), followed by Les écologistes (Les Verts/ALE) led by MEP Marie Toussaint (8.5%). 

The conservative Les républicains (European People’s Party, EPP), led by MEP François-Xavier Bellamy, and Manon Aubry’s far-left La France insoumise (The Left) each share 7% of the cake, while Reconquête! (European Conservatives and Reformists, CRE) of the former French MP Marion Maréchal flirts with the electoral threshold of 5%. 

The French Communist Party (The Left) is around 3.5%, followed by a myriad of lists below 2.5%.

Shaping up for a RN-Renaissance duel? 

The gap between the RN’s Jordan Bardella and the Renaissance list led by MEP Valérie Hayer is an unprecedented 13 points. The RN has gained three percentage points in three months while Renaissance has lost two points, compared to the last one Ipsos poll.

Nevertheless, “the polarisation strategy of the two main parties is working”, according to Bernard Sananès, president of the Elabe Institute in La Tribune, following an Elabe poll published on Sunday (10 March).

While strengthening its Eurosceptic base on the RN side and its pro-Ukraine base on the Renaissance one, the two parties jointly represent 46.5% of the electorate mobilised in the Elabe poll and 49% in the Ipsos poll, i.e. an increase in both cases. 

In the Ipsos poll, some 83% of those who said they would vote for the Bardella list were sure of their choice, compared with 70% for the Hayer list.

Half or less of those who said they would vote for Glucksmann, Bellamy (LR) or Toussaint lists  were sure of their choice, compared to 60% for the Aubry list and 66% for the Maréchal one. If the vote were held this week, the abstention rate would be between 54% and 58%.

Reconquête! in a tough spot 

After polling at 6-7% in previous polls,  Éric Zemmour’s far-right Reconquête! party is now dangerously close to the 5% minimum needed to send deputies to the European Parliament in the Ipsos poll. In the Elabe poll, the party is even below that mark.

According to the survey data, the momentum generated by RN’s Bardella is leading to a “useful vote” effect among right-wing voters behind his list. A third of the RN’s three-point gain is attributed to Zemmour’s supporters who would rather vote for Bardella than Maréchal.

Status quo on the left

The balance for the rest of the political spectrum remains unchanged, except that the Socialist list has gained one point at the expense of the ecologists. Behind them, La France insoumise has stagnated, unable to capitalise on its leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s 22% of votes in the first round of the last presidential election held in 2022.

As with the RN vote on the far right of the spectrum, the Ipsos poll noted that the leftist votes for LFI and the Communist also represent opposition to the government’s policies.


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