By 37% to 19% Britons would prefer Emmanuel Macron win the French presidential election

Matthew SmithHead of Data Journalism
April 15, 2022, 11:00 AM GMT+0

Britons are equally likely to think a Macron presidency would be best for Britain or that it makes no difference who wins

The French public went to the polls over the weekend for the first round of their presidential election. The results are a repeat of 2017, with centrist Emmanuel Macron facing off against far-right Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote next weekend.

Here in Britain, Macron is the preferred candidate, by 37% to Le Pen’s 19%. The largest portion of the public (44%), however, do not seem to be au fait with French politics, answering “don’t know”.

The results show that Conservative voters and Leave voters would prefer to see Marine Le Pen emerge victorious. Those who backed the Tories in 2019 support Le Pen over Macron by 37% to 24%, while those who voted to leave the EU in 2016 prefer her by 35% to 19%.

Remain and Labour voters overwhelmingly back Macron, by 62% to 7% and 53% to 8%, respectively.

The latest YouGov France voting intention figures currently suggest that the French president holds an eight point lead over his rival.

Fewer people think a Le Pen presidency would be better for Britain than did in 2017

A quarter of Britons (24%) don’t think it really makes a difference for the UK whichever candidate wins. The same number think a Macron re-election would be better for Britain, while 13% think we would benefit most from a Le Pen presidency. Four in ten (39%) aren’t sure either way.

This represents an 8pt decrease for Le Pen compared to when we asked the same question prior to the 2017 presidential election. Back then, 21% said Marine Le Pen being elected would be better for Britain. About the same number said a Macron presidency would be better for the UK back then (23%) as do now, while fewer people thought it made little difference who won in 2017 (13%).

The drop in the number of people thinking a Le Pen presidency would benefit Britain more seems to be coming primarily from Leave voters, of whom 23% feel this way now compared to 37% in 2017.

By contrast, the increase in the number of people who don’t think it will make much difference either way comes from across the Brexit spectrum. There has been an 11pt increase in the number of Remain voters who think it makes little difference to Britain who wins (from 10% to 21%), and likewise a 13pt increase among Leave voters (from 17% to 30%).

See the full results here