We have conducted some field research on the perceptions of French citizens about the current state of the economy, and their expectations for the upcoming elections and beyond. The priorities of voters across the income spectrum for the upcoming presidential election are: the labour market, taxation, and education. Migration, in a broad sense that includes the impact of the refugee crisis and the intra-EU labour flows, was a top-three priority topic for less than a third of our sample. Terrorism was mentioned as a top-three priority for only 10% of respondents, mostly in the Paris area.

In our view, Marine Le Pen’s views find approval with many citizens in France, spanning genders, ethnicities and incomes. However, we believe that she will be unlikely to be able to secure the presidency because her potential voter base is not yet sufficiently vast – in particular, she is missing the very high income bracket, particularly in the 35-45 age group. On the other hand, in our view, Francois Fillon’s approval rating is underestimated in current surveys, and may be as high as Emmannuel Macron’s at the moment. Our field study also flagged that Jean-Luc Melenchon’s approval rating may also be underestimated by the surveys, but the likelihood of him surviving the second round remains slim, without a cooperation agreement with Benoit Hamon.

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