French elections – opinion polls spot on!

24 Apr 2017

Philip Shaw

Chief Economist

Counting from the first round of the French Presidential election shows the following results: Emmanuel Macron 23.8%; Marine Le Pen 21.5%; François Fillon 19.9%; Jean-Luc Mélenchon 19.6%; others 15.2%.

If and when confirmed by the Constitutional court on Wednesday, this will put centrist Macron and far-right Le Pen into the ‘head to head’ in the second round on Sunday week.
Yesterday’s outturn was very much as opinion polls had predicted, but markets haven taken comfort from the avoidance of a Le Pen v Mélenchon runoff on the grounds that could have given investors continued concerns about France’s future relationship with the EU. Accordingly the EUR has made gains of close to 2 cents against the USD and Eurostoxx futures are pointing to a gain of 3% at today’s open.
Polls for the second round between Macron and Le Pen have consistently shown a 20% plus lead for Macron. Indeed he kicks off the next stage of the campaign as clear favourite to win on 7 May, especially given the relative accuracy of the polls this time around.
At some stage, attention may well turn towards Mr Macron’s new En Marche party and the size of its representation at the National Assembly elections on 11 and 18 June. But for now markets will digest yesterday’s results.