Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron are left to go head to head in the second round of the 2017 French presidential elections and statistics show that Marine Le Pen could already be the new French president if France followed the U.S.’ electoral system.
We’ve seen the official results of the first round of the 2017 French presidential elections, and as of April 24, the centrist frontrunner Emmanuel Macron is at the top of the polls with 24.01 percent of the votes.
A quick projection of the second round of the 2017 French presidential elections via The Guardian, which will see Macron against far-Right firebrand Marine Le Pen, however, has Macron winning the French elections. According to Pollsters Ifop, who asked French voters who they would vote for if Macron and Le Pen goes through to the second round, Macron will win against Le Pen at 60.93 percent versus 39.07 percent.
The battle between Macron and Le Pen has always been seen as a close re-run of the 2016 U.S. Elections, which saw the close fight between Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton. Both elections pitted populists (Trump in the U.S., Le Pen in France) against liberals with prominent roles in the previous or current administration (Clinton in the U.S., Macron in France). This is why The Economist took the liberty of looking at the Macron and Le Pen presidential battle through the lens of the U.S. electoral system.
Who will win the 2017 French presidential elections if France were to follow the U.S. electoral college system?
The U.S. presidential election is a pretty complicated system, unlike other electoral systems where the person who gets the majority vote automatically wins the presidential bid. Simply put by Telegraph, all 50 U.S. states and Washington DC have a set number of “electors” in the electoral college (depending on the size of the state) and for a presidential candidate to win, s/he will have to earn 270 electors—half the total of the 538 electors plus one. And if no candidate wins the majority of the electoral college, each region gets translated into one vote each, and the presidential candidate getting the majority of the regions will be named president.
If Macron and Le Pen went head to head in an American electoral college, The Economist predicts that Marine Le Pen could have already won the French presidential election.
According to the magazine’s analysis of the French elections between Le Pen and Macron, Le Pen will have likely snagged the majority regional vote since her voters did tend to be rural and geographically dispersed, just like Donald Trump’s. Macron, on the other hand, held supporters concentrated in cities, much like Hillary Clinton’s.
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) April 27, 2017
Following the U.S. electoral college system, The Economist does the math and gives France 193 electoral votes. And looking at the results of the first round of votes, much like the 2016 U.S. elections, none of the French presidential candidates will be able to snag half plus one of the electoral votes. Le Pen and Macron will have 90 electoral votes each, with leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon claiming 10 and the conservative François Fillon only three.
The election then transitions to the 12th amendment guidelines and each region will be converted to a singular vote. And if you map the votes that Le Pen and Macron geographically, Le Pen will emerge victorious with eight of the 18 regions while Macron trails behind with only six regions. Fillon’s single region and Mélenchon’s three will then have to be the deciding regions.
But that’s with an American electoral college. With France’s current electoral system, polls are predicting a huge victory for Macron in next weekend’s second presidential election round.
But Macron and Le Pen still have a week before voters cast their final ballots and the odds could easily turn in anyone’s favor. In fact, despite Macron’s sure win in the original polls, Express reports that Marine Le Pen’s campaign for the presidency is increasing momentum, according to an Opinionway-Orpi poll.
In just two days, Le Pen was able to pull her percentage up two points from 39 to 41. This closes Le Pen further to Macron, who is down from 60 to 59.
But if we learned anything from presidential polls, it’s that these polls are, at the end of the day, just polls. How the French voters decide on the May 7 presidential elections—where it’s going to be Marine Le Pen or Emmanuel Macron—is still pretty much the future; and at the end of the day, the French will elect the president that they deserve.
[Featured Image by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images]