The decision to rebroadcast the surefire hit The Visitors saw TF1 accused of deepening a democratic deficit, but it also crystalized what polls have shown for weeks – that the election has yet to capture the imagination of voters.
With less than two weeks to the first-round vote on April 10th, the 11 rivals hoping to knock the centrist Emmanuel Macron out of office have struggled to generate much momentum, let alone enthusiasm, against the background of the war in Ukraine.
Surveys show most people are convinced the 44-year-old former banker, whose reformist zeal upended politics-as-usual five years ago, will cruise through the first round toward a run-off victory on April 24th.
According to a BVA poll released Friday, 75 percent of registered French intend to cast a ballot, which would be slightly down on the 2017 figure with absentee voters seen as helping Macron.
“People are increasingly utilitarian, they vote when it interests them, and we’ve seen that when it’s a close race, more people vote,” said Gerard Grunberg, a veteran political scientist at the CNRS research institute.
“That’s going to help Macron because his base is fairly determined, especially in these times of war — other voters might just say, ‘We don’t like Macron but he’s going to win, and anyway we don’t know who to vote for’,” he told AFP.
But within Macron’s camp there is increasing concern that abstentions and complacency could lead to a shock result.
“When I see such feeble interest in this race, with one-quarter of the French who could still change their mind… things could change a lot” in the next two weeks, Frederic Dabi of the Ifop polling institute told Public Senat television on Monday.
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