Thursday, April 19, 2007

Polls tighten as campaign end nears

With campaigns wrapping up soon and the first round this Sunday, voters are slowly but surely making up their minds. Ipsos' daily poll, now with information from April 17-18, says that the "Fermature du choix", or the number of people who will not change their minds in the first round, has jumped to 70%. It had been hovering at around 60% until several days ago.

But as voters are making their choices, it appears as of now that UDF candidate Francois Bayoru may find himself the man left out in the cold instead of his preferred "third man." A new BVA poll puts Sarkozy at 29% and Royal at 25%, but shows Bayrou falling to 15%, almost equal with Le Pen's 13%.

Worse yet, it also highlights the instability in Bayrou's declared support. According to the poll, a full 47% of Bayrou voters say they may change their mind, compared to only roughly 20% for the other main contenders. Frankly this was not unexpected, and the conventional wisdom held that unless Bayrou could become a legitimate substitute for Royal, his support would fade as the election neared. Conventional wisdom also keeps reminding us that Le Pen is likely underestimated in the polls, although by how much is anyone's guess.

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