Monday, February 12, 2007

Royal's mountain left to climb

Although Socialist candidate Segolene Royal may receive a boost in the polls after her presidential project speech yesterday, new polls confirm that she will have a high hill to climb. Two polls taken at the mid/end of last week indicated that UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy would defeat Royal 54% and 53% against 46% and 47% in the May runoff. If it was only a 2-4 point difference it might not matter much, but 6% to 8% difference is a substantial shift from several months ago, when they were polling basically evenly.

Where Nicolas Sarkozy may be finding much of his support is in the people who will vote for centrist Francois Bayrou or right-wing Jean-Marie Le Pen in the first round. 46% of Bayrou voters will then opt for Sarkozy (compared to 33% for Royal), and a full 70% of Le Pen voters will later switch to Sarkozy. Bayrou is the crucial figure though, because earlier on it appeared that Royal was attempting to swing more moderate voters with a promise of pragmatism. By reverting back to more traditional Socialist policy ideas, it is likely that she will only further alienate these voters.

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