In the midst of an extraordinary French political season, pollsters Edouard Lecerf of Kantar Public, Bruno Jeanbart of OpinionWay, and Jérôme Fourquet of Ifop spoke to members of the Anglo-American Press Association for a second time this year to make sense of a shake-up that continues to reverberate around us.

The three polling experts met with some 20 AAPA members on June 6, just a few days ahead of the legislative race, in an event kindly hosted by Bloomberg.

Members were seeking to understand how President Emmanuel Macron was poised to capture an absolute majority in the National Assembly in June 11 and June 18 polls, when his official party was just one-month-old.

The pollsters attributed La République En Marche’s victory to President Macron’s firm start, demonstrating French strength in the face of international leadership, particularly President Macron’s white-knuckle handshake with US President Donald Trump or his dismissal of Russian media propaganda in front of President Vladimir Putin. “He has responded very, very well by showing he could don the clothes of the president of the Republic,” Mr. Jeanbart said.

He has also been buoyed by the ongoing implosion of the established political class, which began with the presidential campaign and shows little signs of abating. “It will reorder the way we see and interpret the political landscape,” said Mr. Lecerf.

But they also warned that Macron’s real test lies ahead, as he turns his campaign pledges into political reality. “En Marche has drawn from a very large spectrum of candidates, from both the left and right, and it remains to be seen if they can stay united when voting on things like labor reform or taxing France’s wealthiest earners,” says Mr. Fourquet. “Their biggest challenges are yet to come.”


-Sara Miller Llana