Saturday, February 17, 2007

Hope remains for Royal

Although Segolene Royal may feel a bit frustrated right now, she shouldn't be too gloomy just yet. According to a recent IFOP poll taken Thursday and Friday, 79% of the French still believe that the dynamics of the presidential election will change between now and the first round on April 22.

While of little practical significance right now, the psychological benefits of this number should not be underestimated. Politics can be very much like a football (American) game, meaning momentum dominates. If the idea of a Sarkozy victory becomes seemingly inevitable, it will become inevitable, so it will be in Royal's best interests to prevent such a thought from ever taking hold. Though this will be difficult, especially if Sarkozy does not falter on his own, a strong performance on this Monday's question & answer show could at least give Royal more breathing room.

The only way to then catch up with someone in the polls will be to attack. The socialists have already played the "American" card against Sarkozy, which has come to little. They have also attacked his pro-capitalist proposals, but considering that these have been getting high marks in general, it may be a counterproductive tactic. Assuming Sarkozy does not stumble, the only way I can see Royal regaining the lead is if she reverts back to her one strength: her personality. If she can portray Sarkozy as the diabolical and manipulating dictator he is sometimes accused of being, always in strong contrast to herself, Royal may be able to scare the French into voting for a more traditional and reassuring candidate. Still, it will be a tough road ahead.

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