2017 French Presidential Election Betting Tips

The first round of voting, in the 2017 French Presidential Election, takes place on Sunday. Until now, we have been reluctant to offer any betting advice on this contest. However, with the odds on Emmanuel Macron shortening over the past 48 hours it does now look like a clear value bet is available on Marine Le Pen.

Best Odds Currently Available

Emmanuel Macron 4/5 Ladbrokes

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Marine Le Pen 7/2 Betfair Sportsbook

Francois Fillon 4/1 Coral/Ladbrokes

Jean Luc-Melenchon 16/1 Bet365/Coral/Ladbrokes

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There are 4 principal reasons for believing that Le Pen may perform even better than expected, along with wider trends that are also in her favour.

Melenchon’s Likely Exit

Melenchon (who is a far-left anti-European) has been eating into Le Pen’s polling numbers, over the last few weeks. This makes sense, as there will be plenty of people who want out of the EU but who do not feel comfortable voting for such a divisive figure as Le Pen. Melenchon is very-likely to be out of the contest after the first round though.

When this happens, many of those anti-EU votes are likely to go straight to Le Pen. Melenchon also has high levels of support, from young people (as Bernie Sanders did, in America). It seems likely that many of those will not vote in the 2nd round – in the same way that Hillary Clinton found that she could not count on the surefire transfer of young persons’ votes after Sanders failed to get the nomination. Young people tend to be more idealistic and less prone to pragmatism if they don’t get exactly what they want.

Ultra-Shy Voters

Despite Le Pen leading the polls, for most of 2017, many French voters who say they will vote for her clearly feel reluctant to let this be widely known. When interviewed by TV news crews, many will only speak after it has been agreed that their face will be blurred/pixelated and that includes people living in very rural areas of France. Many will have never even voted for a centre-right candidate before, let alone someone who leads the National Front.

We didn’t see this level of shyness in Britain (before the EU Referendum), or in America before Trump’s victory. In both cases, the anti-establishment vote was hugely underestimated. This indicates that the shy Le Pen vote is going to be very high. If around 25% of French voters are currently happy to express their support of Le Pen to pollsters, the real figure could well be 35-40%. If this is correct, then Le Pen will not need to get many more votes (they will come from Fillon’s and Melenchon’s more Eurosceptic supporters) to get her over the line in the 2nd round.

High Rural Turnout

We expect the turnout to be very high, in rural areas and France is a country where a significantly-higher percentage of the population live outside of the major urban areas than both in America and the UK. The rural vote will massively favour Le Pen and not just in the North-Eastern ‘Rust-Belt’ areas, where manufacturing has declined. Le Pen now enjoys extensive support across all of rural France.

Paris Gun Attack

The latest terrorist attack, where 3 police officers were shot and one died (Paris 20th April) is a disaster for the mainstream candidates (Fillon and Macron). One attacker appears to have been jailed for shooting at the police before, had also been on the watch-list of ante-terrorist agencies, yet was still able to become involved in another shooting without appearing on the radar.

The timing of this could not be worse, for the pro-EU centrists and it is Le Pen who will surely benefit as she is the only significant candidate with a hardline policy on immigration. It is not yet clear, as to whether the attackers were French-born or not, but it is likely to have a profound effect on wavering voters who are troubled by immigration in France.

Wider Trends

Across the world, we have seen voting trends that are going to encourage Le Pen and her supporters. The right consistently gets more support than the polls indicate. Voter-turnout from the young and from ethnic minorities turns out not to be as high as was predicted.

The mainstream media still largely trusts polling and judges the mood of the nation by what those who work in it see around them in the major cities that they operate in. In America, the few reporters that ventured out into provincial areas came back saying they saw ‘nothing but Trump signs’ but were largely ignored or even vilified. The same is true in France, with Le Pen and her posters. This election has all the ingredients needed to provide a similar result.

Right now, the best odds you can get on a Le Pen victory are 7/2 with Betfair Sportsbook. We expected a higher price at this stage of the campaign, in all honesty, but bookmakers are a little warier now following recent election results.

This price does still look like value though and we think that 6/4 would be more realistic, given the current circumstances.

Best Odds Currently Available

Emmanuel Macron 4/5 Ladbrokes

Marine Le Pen 7/2 Betfair Sportsbook

Francois Fillon 4/1 Coral/Ladbrokes

Jean Luc-Melenchon 16/1 Bet365/Coral/Ladbrokes

Use the links, above,  to get the top available sign-up welcome bonuses.