“I was surprised because it was a level that had never been reached before,” he says. “Granted, this is a poll; it’s not the election’s result. But it is true that it’s the first time that you see voting intentions that high among young people and particularly among those who are going to vote for the first time,” Crépon says.
A late March study from the CSA institute based on three surveys suggests Le Pen could even beat both Mr. Hollande and Mr. Sarkozy among young voters. According to the study, she ranked first among 18- to 24-year-olds with 26 percent of the vote, the newspaper Le Monde reported yesterday. Hollande and Sarkozy had 25 and 17 percent, respectively.
Le Pen was preceded as leader of the National Front by her father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, who led the party until early 2011. He founded the party in 1972 and is known in France for his xenophobic and authoritarian positions. Always considered a fringe candidate, he never achieved the more mainstream appeal his daughter seems to have garnered in this election. Although Marine Le Pen has been accused of targeting France’s Muslim community in her speeches, most French see her as a less radical figure.
Frédéric Dabi, the associate director general of IFOP, says Marine Le Pen has better ratings from young voters than from the electorate as a whole because her image as a modern candidate appeals to them. For them, her father represented an older, more traditional far right, according to Mr. Dabi.