The latest French polls show that neither Socialist presidential candidate Francois Hollande nor the incumbent  Nicolas Sarkozy are exactly sweeping French voters off their feet. In fact, both have lost ground since the previous series of polls.

Hollande has 28% of the vote while Sarkozy has between 24-28%. This refers to the first ballot but on the second ballot (necessitated if no candidate captures 50% on the first ballot) Hollande is the easy winner.

The National Front's Marine Le Pen is temporarily dead in the water with 17% and showing little movement in either direction. Madam Le Pen would very much like to repeat her father's achievements in 2002 when he qualified for the second ballot (he was thoroughly trounced) and she feels that she has a shot as according to the polls 30% of the voters would consider voting for her.

Le Pen believes she has a chance of knocking out Sarkozy in the first round and to do so she has adopted a populist tone that can appeal to both thehard left and hard right who are dissatisfied with both leading candidates (so far the losses of Sarkozy and Hollande have gone to other candidates).

She is continuing her party's anti-immigrant campaign but is accentuating the economic implications. It is the rule of justice that the French should be the first to be served in their own country and this is particularly true for low income housing. She accused both major parties of "Playing the hypocritical card of pseudo-generosity to the entire world that consists very often of giving priority to families who have just gotten off the boat onto our territory and sometimes illegally because they are polygamists." This chokes off low income housing.

Le Pen would also impose a tax on businesses for example automobile manufacturers who have frequently relocated their factories to countries where operating costs are cheaper. This would apply to those who did not produce at least 50% on French soil. "You sell in France then you should produce in France" Many of the French companies have moved to some of their production to East European countries within the European Union and Le Pen's proposal would be illegal under EU regulations.

Madam Le Pen would also reduce gasoline prices and grant all salaried employees and immediate increase of €200 a month. She would raise the money with an emergency tax on the big oil and gas businesses.

She is also gearing her pitch to a middle class that is "too rich to be aided and too poor to get out of it." This would be appropriate for the unusual economic times where everything is "more difficult today than yesterday."

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