The most interesting election of 2022 is the French Presidential election, where controversial incumbent Emmanuel Macron is trying to win a second term against a cavalcade of challengers. Is Macron the rightful odds-on favorite in 2022 France election odds?
A two-round contest, the top two from the first round will go to the second round, where Macron is functionally assured of his place.
Who he might have to face there is decidedly less assured, and that’s where the value is.
The Candidates In 2022 France Election Odds
|Candidate||Jan. 4, 2022 Price||Equivalent Odds|
|Marine Le Pen||$0.09||+1000|
*All other candidates priced at $0.01 as of Jan. 4, 2022
Marine Le Pen
The First Daughter of the French far-right, Le Pen’s father was the first Le Pen to make a French Presidential second round when he squeaked into the final two in 2002, before being summarily thrashed by then-President Chirac.
Marine ran for President for the National Front in 2012, coming in a respectable third, before making it into the final two in 2017, where she was summarily destroyed (although, not as badly as her father) by Macron.
Running again, she is trying to take advantage of the increased unpopularity of the Macron government and do better in the post-pandemic age than she did last time, running in the immediate aftermath of two instability-creating electoral events in Brexit and the election of Donald Trump.
Le Pen’s candidacy has two problems. First, she’s no lock to make the final two. Secondly, even if she does get second place, the two biggest blowouts in French Presidential history have been routs of the Le Pen family. There have only been two Presidents directly elected with more than 60% of the vote – and both wins came against Le Pens.
A far-right media personality turned politician, Zemmour has been routinely in the national eye for his inflammatory views on the Muslim faith and its place in France, stances which helped boost his nascent campaign to second place briefly when he announced in the fall of 2021.
Competing for many of the same voters as Le Pen, Zemmour’s candidacy spiked after his announcement, and then quietly fell back as his announcement bump faded.
Zemmour’s candidacy faces many of the same problems of Le Pen. While he and his new party do not have the baggage of the Le Pen name, the French far right has never made real or substantial inroads to power, in large part because of the two-round system.
Designed initially to stop the communists, the French system ensures that a loud minority cannot rule without majority consent, and the French far-right have never shown any ability to command majority support, and that’s why short of both Le Pen and Zemmour getting above Macron, they can’t beat Macron.
That said, it’s possible the third contender could.
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A former Cabinet Minister under Sarkozy, Pecresse is the candidate of Les Republicans, the successor party to the Chirac/Sarkozy Union for a Popular Movement. Currently in second place in the polls, Pecresse represents the best challenger to Macron in terms of actually having a chance to beat him.
In a contest against the far right, Macron would be able to rely on a broad coalition of the center, left, and moderate conservatives, but against Pecresse, his coalition gets all wonky, and his path is much less clear.
Moderate conservatives, the far right voting for their perceived lesser of two evils, and some amount of support from the anti-Macron left could easily be enough to beat Macron, if she can stay in the final two through to April. Having said that, I don’t think that’s likely.
Having just been announced as the candidate of Les Republicans in early December, she is riding the same announcement bump that saw Zemmour rise and fall. It’s possible she holds her spot, but right now she is riding name recognition and media attention to second place. Once the campaign starts, and she is seen as a serious threat in earnest, she will likely fall.
2022 France Election Odds Analysis
The most likely outcome of the election is clearly a rematch of 2017, as Le Pen is likely to rise back into second once the campaign begins properly in the new year, and Pecresse faces the heat her newfound front runner status earns her.
It seems highly unlikely to me that Zemmour’s supporters will continue to support him if his campaign continues to bleed, and needlessly split the vote instead of coalescing behind the candidate who many, if not most, voted for at least once in 2017.
If Le Pen can stay ahead of Zemmour, she will be able to do what Canadian Liberals are routinely able to do, and slingshot herself up at the expense of her direct competition by running an aggressive squeeze campaign against the risks of vote splitting costing the broader movement.
Between that chance and the chance that Pecresse’s campaign falters in the coming months, Le Pen is the likeliest anti-Macron, for whatever that is worth. The problem is, even if she makes the final two, she will lose, and this is the reason Macron’s a good bet at his price.
Macron beats Zemmour or Le Pen handily, even if it is unlikely he comes close to his demolition of Le Pen from five years ago. The enduring rule of French politics is to bet on the center against the extremes, and that is true here, if that’s the matchup.
Macron would still be favored against Pecresse, but not by nearly the same amount. She’s overvalued not because of her chances in a runoff, if she were to make one, but because her chances of making one are wildly overrated. She is at her peak, and her candidacy will face challenges that almost assuredly make Macron the easy favorite.
Most paths from here to the May second round end up with Macron winning easily, and even the one that doesn’t still has him as a clear (but not insurmountable) favorite. Unless Macron completely and utterly botches Omicron, there’s no real case for betting against him.
Macron is neither as popular as those on the international center and center-left have always wanted to believe after his win ended the global right’s run of good form nor as unpopular as those on the global right have always wanted to believe, and his status in this election is mostly a function of his opponents.
It is highly likely that Macron will be the first French President since Chirac to get re-elected, and he is likely to do so against the daughter of the man Chirac beat for his second term. Plus ca change, as they’d say.