Smarkets: Macron holds 95% lead as Le Pen eyes biggest shock in political betting history

Matt Shaddick: Smarkets

On Sunday 24 April, the French electorate will once again head to voting stations to decide the outcome of the General Election run-off between President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen.

The build-up to the Presidential run-off has been closely monitored by political observers across the globe, as France’s underwhelmed electorate could well vote in far-right Marine Le Pen – an outcome that would be the biggest political upset in modern European history.   

As such, this Sunday’s two-horse race has been priced by Smarkets Politics, which currently sees Emmanuel Macron maintained as President of the Tricolor, given a 95% (1.05 odds) chance of winning by the firm’s betting exchange customers. 

Tracking market movements, Smarkets notes that Le Pen’s prospects had hit as high as 23% before the first round of voting but have now crashed to just 5% (19/1 odds).

“The betting markets have called this one – Macron is very likely to win and a Le Pen upset would represent one of the biggest shocks in political betting history,” explained Smarkets Head of Political Markets, Matt Shaddick.

“The polls were suggesting a potentially close result up until the first round of voting but now it seems the only question is how far Macron will win by.”

Despite the confidence that Macron will prevail according to latest polls, Sunday’s result will rest on the turnout of the French public in support of Macron, whose first term as president has divided France across all regions and subject matters.

The final week of campaigning saw Macron and Le Pen court the voters of third-placed candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon, who garnered 22% of the first stage vote share, as his France Insoumise movement promoted a left-wing populist and anti-globalisation agenda.

As Sunday beckons, will the French public again hold their nose for ‘out of touch centrist’ Macron or choose a path to the unknown with Le Pen? As all political commentators were taught in 2016, polls can track data but they cannot predict voter sentiment or dissolution.  

Shaddick observes – “So far the signs are that their head-to-head debate on Wednesday night has not changed anything – in fact Macron’s odds have continued to improve from the moment the exit polls were released after round one.”

“There is very little reason to expect the kind of huge polling failure that would have to occur for a Le Pen victory. The polls did reasonably well in the first round and actually over-estimated Le Pen’s vote share back in the 2017 run-off between the same pair.”


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