All Eyes on France (Updated—It’s Macron)

When the sun comes up in France a few hours from now, the polls will open for the runoff election between President Emanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen. All of the pre-election surveys show Macron with a comfortable 10-point lead over Le Pen, but if the election comes out this way it will be a major narrowing from the last election in 2017, which Macron won over Le Pen by a 66 – 33% margin. In other words, while 2017 was a landslide, this election shows the shift in momentum in French opinion.

The media and the establishment are very nervous about the election tomorrow, despite Macron’s consistent lead in the polls. The media and the establishment are still suffering PTSD from Brexit and Trump. A Le Pen win can’t be ruled out. The biggest question mark is whether turnout by the young, which skewed sharply to Le Pen in the first round, will be higher than the survey models expect. The establishment is nearly hysterical in warnings about how Le Pen is a Putin puppet, and Macron has even been trying to learn rap music to relate to the youts of Paris.

Think talk of “the establishment” is overdone cliche? Behold The Hill:

The U.S. establishment is clearly hoping for a Macron victory, though the Biden administration publicly has said it is watching the election closely and emphasized the contest is a decision for the French people.

CNN “reports” that a Le Pen victory could crash the economy:

Investors remain on edge. With polls indicating the presidential election is narrower than when the two candidates faced off in 2017, traders are girding for a surprise Le Pen win, which would rattle Europe’s second biggest economy as fears of a recession in the region grow.

“It could be bigger than Brexit. It could be bigger than Trump, if Le Pen prevails,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets. In research published on Tuesday, strategists at Citi put the probability of a Le Pen win at 35%. Still, they encouraged clients to hedge their bets on French government bonds, and cautioned that a Le Pen win would hurt stocks.

I expect Macron will prevail, but nice to see the establishment sweat a little.

UPDATE, Sunday, 11 am EDT. This is interesting:

UPDATE 2: The polls are closed, and exit polls show an easy Macron win, probably 59 – 41.

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