While today's headlines are dominated by President Jacques Chirac's publicly announced support of Nicolas Sarkozy, the news-site Paris Link has published a startlingly bold prediction: Sarkozy will not make it through the first round of voting.
At first this seems laughable, considering Sarkozy has led all the polls for the last several months, yet the article does a fair job of reasoning out such a conclusion, taking into account the political motivation of French youth, the rise of Francois Bayrou, the underestimated support of Le Pen, the general uncertainty in the minds of voters, and Sarkozy's own personality and views.
The picture of an ambitious, anglophile liberal going jogging in Central Park before meeting the American President for a photo opportunity is not one that sits well with the French electorate: when selecting a President, they select someone who represents France; despite being one of the least successful Presidents in history, Jacques Chirac at least fulfilled this criterion - he was the very embodiment of the French patrie.
I have said before that in many ways Sarkozy is an incredibly vulnerable candidate, whose views are not closely aligned with the majority of the French electorate. Nevertheless, the almost inability of Royal or Bayrou to effectively exploit these weaknesses over the past months does not lead me to believe that he will fall any time soon.