The prospect of far-right leader Marine Le Pen becoming French president cannot be written off — but the latest projections indicate she will likely be defeated when France goes to vote in May.
That is according to economists Olivier Vigna and Simon Wells, who have produced a note on France’s upcoming elections for HSBC.
Donald Trump’s shock victory over Hillary Clinton in the recent US Election speaks to a rise in populism across the west, with upcoming elections in France, Austria, and Italy all flagged as potential flashpoints.
Le Pen, whose party the Front National advocates a hard line approach to reducing immigration among a host of other right-wing policies, is polling better than France’s current president Francois Hollande and is “emboldened” ahead by Trump’s victory ahead of the elections in May, Vigna and Wells note.
However, although Le Pen’s growing popularity cannot go ignored, she still faces an uphill battle if she wants to replicate Trump’s success and be elected French president next year.
Le Pen is popular — but not popular enough
As figures 2 and 3 illustrate, recent polling suggests Le Pen will go head-to-head with Alain Juppé to win the election, with Juppe set to beat former president Nicolas Sarkozy to the Republican Party nomination later this month.
Juppé, though, is currently more popular than Le Pen and is set to win the first round of voting.
Assuming recent projections are accurate and Le Pen and Juppé go against each other in the second round of voting, the latter is in a strong position to defeat the far-right candidate.
The most recent polls indicated a lead of up to 40-points for Juppé, as shown in figure 4. The polling industry has had a pretty torrid 12 months, but a 40-point lead is clearly a very large margin.
But there have been no polls since Trump’s historic win
As things stand, Le Pen probably is not going to win the French presidential election.
But, as Vigna and Wells rightly point out, the most recent polling data was gathered prior to Trump’s shock victory. The Republican candidate’s unprecedented success could potentially galvanise the populist mood in Europe and inject extra momentum into the Front National’s campaign. The Trump phenomenon could have a domino-effect.
This, of course, remains to be seen. The latest betting odds imply around a 29% chance of Le Pen winning in May, up from 18% at the time of the US Election. However, it must not be forgotten that betting markets are dictated by betting behaviour and don not necessarily provide the best reflections of what the public is thinking.
NOW WATCH: A model that has correctly predicted the presidential election since 1980 says Clinton will have a landslide victory
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.