Although one would prefer both that Le Pen didn’t make the runoff and that her opponent was better, this could have been a lot worse:
It comes down to the populist versus the globalist.
Far-right candidate Marine Le Pen and center-left candidate Emmanuel Macron have come out on top in the first round of the French presidential elections and will be moving ahead to the final round on May 7. According to French polling firm IPSOS, exit polls show Macron with 23.7 percent followed by Le Pen with 21.7 percent of the vote. Far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and conservative candidate Francois Fillon tied for third place with about 19.5 percent each.
The good news is that Marcon is wallopping Le Pen in the polls:
But in the end the pollsters proved to be spot on: Emmanuel Macron came in first, with 23.7 percent of the vote, and Marine Le Pen second with 21.9. This result makes a Macron victory in the second round almost certain: no poll has put Le Pen within 20 points of him in a head-to-head contest.
The next president of France will therefore be, without a doubt, a 39-year-old centrist technocrat who staunchly supports the European Union.
At this point, many people will say “Trump!” “Brexit!” “Polls are meaningless/can’t measure white nationalism!” But, in fact, there’s no evidence whatsoever that polls are incapable of measuring support for white nationalist parties. Indeed, both Trump and Brexit were well within the typical margin of error — one’s institution that Trump or Brexit shouldn’t have been able to win is not, in fact, evidence of polling failure.
It is enormously unlikely that Le Pen will be able to make up a 20-point deficit. And if she does have a chance of winning, the polls will tighten bigly in the meantime — she is not going to win down double digits in the polls.