In the first round of the French Presidential race on April 23, candidates claiming to shake up the political establishment from the far right to the far left dominate the field. Even the two main parties, the Socialist and Republican (right), rejected candidates associated with center and status quo views and chose outsiders with very conservative or very liberal views.
The top two candidates on April 23, assuming one of them doesn’t receive half the vote, will compete in a run off on May 7.
A new poll published February 1st shows the independent Emmanuel Macron ahead of François Fillon, the conservative frontrunner due to a late breaking scandal involving payments to Fillon’s wife.
In recent elections, French polls have tended to capture the party and candidate alignments with reasonable accuracy, but the environment is more fluid today with more independent candidates, some of whom are just becoming nationally known. Also, the populist, nationalist surge reflected in Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory is a wildcard in the race.