Posted on Oct 21, 2021, 5:00 PMUpdated Oct 21, 2021, 5:31 PM
They avoided the worst: Xavier Bertrand having agreed in extremis to put his future in the hands of party members, the Republicans will have, except for a huge surprise, only one standard bearer in the next presidential election. But the essential remains to be done. Twenty weeks before the election, the right is struggling to interfere in the battle for the second round, according to PrésiTrack, the OpinionWay barometer for “Les Echos”, Classic Radio and Cnews.
In the probable hypothesis where the polemicist would be a candidate, Xavier Bertrand today only collects 12% of the voters’ voting intentions (with a participation estimated at nearly 70%). Neck-to-neck with the polemicist (13%) but far from Emmanuel Macron (25%) and Marine Le Pen (18%). Too far, in any case, to play the final. Valérie Pécresse and Michel Barnier would do even less well, with barely 8% of the vote. Without Eric Zemmour, this time, Xavier Bertrand obtains 13%, against… 26% for the candidate of the RN and for the outgoing head of state. No other candidate would wait for the 10%.
“For the moment, the right is not in the game”, summarizes Bruno Jeanbart, vice-president of the OpinionWay institute. According to him, the situation, paradoxically, could “especially do the business of Michel Barnier”, the best placed with the members of LR who appreciate that he has never left the party. “As Xavier Bertrand does not appear in a position to qualify, the polls are not necessarily the criterion which will count the most in the eyes of the activists”.
“Thorn in the side”
Even if it lowers the qualification threshold in the second round, the emergence of Eric Zemmour, champion of the conspiracy theory of the “great replacement”, is not only “a thorn in the side” of Marine Le Pen. He also threatens to capture potential right-wing voters, which she badly needs in 2022. Nearly 24% of François Fillon voters in the first round of the last presidential election and 22% of those who still say they are LR sympathizers would vote today ‘ hui for Eric Zemmour. A month ago, they were only 11% and 18%, respectively.
This photograph of public opinion obviously does not predict the outcome of the battle – especially as the debates can change the outlook of the French. But it illustrates the horrors of a political family which is the only one that does not have its champion. LR suffers from being self-centered on its internal battle while the other candidates, declared or not, address the French. “The designation of its candidate is not at all a subject for the French. It is a difficulty. It reinforces today, in the opinion, the fact that it does not have a candidate ”, analyzes Bruno Jeanbart. Many elected officials of LR are also worried about this “lost time”.
Another difficulty lies in the rise of economic and social themes, which are more than ever at the top of the list of concerns. This is, according to OpinionWay, “a fairly strong sign of the fragility of Eric Zemmour’s breakthrough” since “the gap is likely to be more and more between his campaign themes and the dominant subjects in the electorate”. But by running behind the polemicist on immigration issues, the right also takes the risk of not being audible on purchasing power.
“The success of Nicolas Sarkozy in 2007 was made on two legs,” recalls Bruno Jeanbart, who warns: “The question will be whether the future winner of the congress will be able to create a real dynamic. But the space being even more occupied since the breakthrough of Eric Zemmour, it is not at all certain ”.
Study carried out from October 18 to 20, 2021, with a sample of 1,035 people, according to the quota method (margins of uncertainty: 1.6 to 3.2 points at most). Find all the results here.