Polls are getting a bit closer in France. Emmanuel Macron was long thought to automatically win the runoff, but he has made several unforced errors while Marine Le Pen has made clever moves to increase her standings in the polls.
Macron has agreed to debate Le Pen, herself a master debater, five days before the second-round voting Sunday. He’s apparently ignored the mistake that Chirac avoided in 2002 by refusing to debate her father, the last time a National Front candidate made it to the finals. Chirac won by 82% to 18%.
This will be the only time most voters will see the two head-to-head. Nine years her junior, in his first campaign for elected office and with a tendency to come across as arrogant and at times even dismissive, this may not play well with his audience.
The French expect a certain assuredness from their leaders, but not dismissiveness. Many have had their fill of that with their last two presidents, conservative Nicolas Sarkozy and the incumbent Francois Hollande, who both left office with record-low popularity.