The pollsters have done it again. Just four days after the Independent reported that pollsters said Marine Le Pen has "next to no chance" of winning the French presidency...
Pollsters say Marine Le Pen has next to no chance of winning the French presidency https://t.co/b6pi8zjmdY— The Independent (@Independent) November 16, 2016
... today we learned that contrary to previous polls, the leader of National Front leader Marine - the person whose surge in the past few years has been most equated to the French populist revolt that has taken place in the UK and US - has taken a commanding lead in the latest French presidential election poll.
As the Independent writes in "Marine Le Pen takes huge lead over nearest rival in new French presidential election poll", according to the latest, Nov. 20, Ipsos poll, Le Pen had 29% of the vote when pitted against Nicolas Sarkozy, who was eight points behind, and held a 15-point lead over the Parti de Gauche’s Jean-Luc Mélenchon in the poll released by Ipsos, which analysed five scenarios with different frontrunners.
France, Ipsos poll:— Europe Elects (@EuropeElects) November 20, 2016
Le Pen (FN-ENF): 29%
Sarkozy (LR-EPP): 21%
Mélenchon (FG-LEFT) 14%
Valls (PS-S&D): 14%... https://t.co/ZCFxaXtq2z
The full IPSOS breakdown is as follows:
A similar result emerges from an IFOP poll released on November 17, according to which Le Pen has a 30 to 26 lead over (until recently) presidential frontrunner Alain Juppe, 28 to 18 lead over former president Sarkozy, and a 29 to 20 lead over Fillon.
In 2012, Le Pen came third in the first round of the French presidential race with 17.9% of the vote, behind Mr Sarkozy with 27.18% and eventual winner Mr Hollande with 28.63%. Four year later she is, as of this moment, an undisputed winner in all three head-to-head match ups.
The latest poll comes at the same time as Italian PM Matteo Renzi, who is almost assured to lose the constitutional referendum set to take place in two weeks on December 4, told his entourage this weekend that the government would fall if he loses Dec. 4 constitutional referendum, according to newspaper La Repubblica. “It’s very simple: if I lose the referendum this government falls. At that point we’ll see who is capable of reaching an agreement for another administration,” the paper cites Renzi as saying.
And so Europe is panicking again: the latest French polls are "likely to add to growing fears that the rise of global populism could see Ms Le Pen on course to clinch the French presidential win, in the wake of the UK’s Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the US election" according to the Independent, which adds that Le Pen's lead "came as leading French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy warned people had lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth, in a development he said could set the National Front on course to occupy the Élysée Palace."
“The people listen less and less to policy and they even seem less concerned about whether the candidates are telling the truth or not.
“They are more interested in the performance, in the theatrical quality of what is said than whether it is true. And as we know, a fascist can put on a very successful performance.”
Here we beg to differ: it's not that people have lost interest in whether politicians tell the truth - it's the realization that politicians are always lying, so why not go with the one candidate who at least present a glimmer of hope of breaching the establishment. Confused? See president-elect Trump.
Indeed, “If Trump is possible, then everything is possible. Nothing, from now on, is unimaginable,” Mr Levy told The Telegraph.
Additionally, the very troubling - if only for the French and European establishment - polls also come as French conservatives vote on Sunday to choose their presidential nominee to face Ms Le Pen in the May election.
Of the seven candidates competing for position in the primaries, the three with a chance of winning include former president Mr Sarkozy and former prime ministers Francois Fillon and Alain Juppe. A second vote will be held next week to decide between the two frontrunners. Many "pro-status quo" are hoping Juppé - who is currently polling seven per cent ahead when pitted against Ms Le Pen in the latest Ipsos poll - wins the nomination.
Meanwhile, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, who last week warned that "Europe is in danger of falling apart" unless Germany and France unleash a torrent of fiscal support for the people whom they ignored for years at the expense of propping up capital markets, said a Le Pen win next year could be “possible” and has warned of the danger of electing a far-right president.
For those unfamiliar, Le Pen has led the far-right National Front since 2011, when she succeeded her father Jean-Marie Le Pen, the party’s founder. Since taking over the party, Ms Le Pen has made efforts to distance herself from her father’s openly nationalistic views, who has been convicted repeatedly for hate speech and contesting crimes against humanity. Just like Trump, critics have frequently branded Marine Le Pen a "fascist" and accused her of exploiting growing anti-immigration sentiment.
Le Pen was among the first world leaders to congraulate Donald Trump on his victory two weeks ago, and said that "Americans have rejected the status quo" with their vote, an outcome she hopes to repeat in France.
The 48-year-old appeared on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Remembrance Sunday, causing a crowd of Unite Against Fascism protesters to gather outside the BBC building.
The UK's Jeremy Corbyn, who also appeared on the show, told Marr: “She uses this populism against minorities in order to get herself elected. The reality is she does not have an economic answer to the problems faced by the left behind communities in France any more than Ukip has an economic answer to the left behind communities in Britain."
Well, it's politics after all: one will do and say anything to get elected. In fact, the people's realization of precisely that is why Trump and Le Pen exist.