Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Bayrou would tie Royal in runoff

New polls shed a brighter light on UDF candidate Francois Bayrou, a centrist with only about 12% of the first round vote so far. If he somehow managed to get into the second round and face Socialist Segolene Royal, they would each have 50% of the vote. If he was in a runoff against UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy, he would lose by the slightest of margins: 51% to 49%.

Other interesting numbers: if French President Jacques Chirac ran, he would win only 5% of the first round vote, about half as much as Jean-Marie Le Pen. Sarkozy will sweep the small-business owner vote, 70% to 30% against Royal. This is even higher than a month ago, when he was winning only 65%. This is likely to have increased not only because he has pledged numerous times for tax cuts and more hours at work, but because the shadow of tax increases is growing over Royal and the socialists. Yet the French as a whole still put employment as their number one priority, and Sarkozy may very well scare those voters into the Royal camp if he doesn't tread a careful line.

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