How Emmanuel Macron’s big campaign gamble appears to have paid off

The “Jupiterian” president had neglected the campaign trail. Ms Le Pen, in contrast, has had a  packed schedule of events, visits and appearances. 

Over the past five years, she has ditched all talk of Frexit and attempted to rebrand her party. 

She left immigration to Eric Zemmour, the TV pundit with a penchant for hate speech, whose campaign ultimately wilted despite all the hype.  

In her third tilt at the presidency, the whitewashing is bringing some results with a  reported wave of support from 18 to 24-year-olds, who, according to some polls, back her over Mr Macron. 

Ms Le Pen zeroed in on rural France and made domestic politics her focus. Rather than demand the end of the euro, she called for a cut on fuel taxes and for curbs on the rise of the cost of living. 

It is a pitch for the votes of the middle classes and the famous Gillet Jaunes or yellow jackets. 

Zemmour’s voters will go to Le Pen but supporters of the Republicains may feel torn. No surprise that the canny Mr Macron has been courting Nicolas Sarkozy and using tougher rhetoric on crime and migrations.  

The ultimate victory should now belong to Mr Macron, whose gamble in campaigning little and late appears to have paid off. 

But he still faces a more tricky opponent than he did in 2017, although his most dangerous enemy is now likely to be complacency. 

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