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French president Francois Hollande's term does not end until 2017, but for the first time ever Marine Le Pen's Front National party is on top in head-to-head polling.
Her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen once shocked France by taking Front National to round two in the 2002 election, but was defeated by incumbent president Jacques Chirac who obtained 82% of the votes.
The Financial Times reports Poll shows Le Pen beating Hollande in presidential run-off
Marine Le Pen, leader of France’s far-right National Front, would beat struggling incumbent François Hollande in a run-off election for the French presidency, according to a new poll.Le Pen Blames EU for Crisis in Ukraine
The unprecedented finding came as a fresh blow to Mr Hollande at the end of a week in which he suffered a cascade of bad news, including the publication of a lacerating book by Valérie Trierweiler, his former partner.
A poll for Ifop, published on Friday, showed that Ms Le Pen would beat Mr Hollande by 54-46 per cent if they were matched today in the decisive second round of the presidential election. The next election is due in 2017.
The survey confirmed an earlier poll showing Ms Le Pen leading all other contenders of left and right in the first round. But it was the first time she had been shown ahead of a mainstream candidate in the second round – a scenario regarded to date as unrealistic.
The Ifop poll followed another on Friday by TNS-Sofres giving Mr Hollande an all-time low approval rating of just 13 per cent.
Mr Hollande’s 13 per cent approval rating compared with the 20 per cent floor hit during his term by Mr Sarkozy, who was shown by the Ifop poll beating Ms Le Pen in a presidential vote by 60-40 per cent.
Mr Hollande has little choice but to try to tough out his demoralising slump in the hope that his reform policies will finally revive the stalled economy, the root source of his problems. But his opponents scent blood.
“Inexorably, one senses the moment is coming when François Hollande finds himself completely paralysed,” commented the rightwing daily Le Figaro, which published the latest polls.
Please consider Crisis in Ukraine is ‘all EU’s fault’ – France’s Marine Le Pen.
“The crisis in Ukraine is all the European Union’s fault. Its leaders negotiated a trade deal with Ukraine, which essentially blackmailed the country to choose between Europe and Russia,” Le Pen told Le Monde daily in an interview.
“The European Union's diplomacy is a catastrophe,” Le Pen told RT's Sophie Shevardnadze in an exclusive interview in June. [See Marine Le Pen: EU robbed us of all liberties, we should fight to get them back]
“The EU speaks out on foreign affairs either to create problems, or to make them worse.”
“Ukraine’s entry into the European Union; no need to tell fairy tales: Ukraine absolutely does not have the economic level to join the EU,” Le Pen told RT.
In her fresh interview with Le Monde, the National Front leader had a positive attitude towards Russian President Vladimir Putin and the economic model he builds.
“I have a certain admiration for the man [Putin]. He proposes a patriotic economic model, radically different than what the Americans are imposing on us,” said Marine Le Pen.
Citing "admiration" for Putin is probably not going to play well with French voters.
And her assertion "The crisis in Ukraine is all the European Union’s fault" is certainly wrong given the role the US played at Maidan, leading to the overthrow of Viktor Yanukovych, former Ukraine president.
Nonetheless she is correct regarding European Union's diplomacy being a "catastrophe". So is EU agricultural policy, tax policy, and countless other policies.
2017 is a long way away. Much can happen between now and the next election for both Hollande, and Le Pen. Will Hollande even survive that long?
Mike "Mish" Shedlock