The latest BVA poll has some surprises. Bayrou is up to 11%. Hollande's advantage over Sarkozy in round 1 has shrunk to 28-24. Villepin is taking 4% from Sarkozy, while Mélenchon is taking 8% from Hollande. Marine Le Pen stands at 17%--a considerable number but well short of vindicating the more alarmist readings of her strength (including, I confess, mine). Has she really attracted new adherents to the PS, or has she merely reconstructed the hard core of FN support that Sarkozy decimated in 2007? And has her repositioning of the FN really mattered, or is the party's resurgence simply a matter of disappointment with Sarkozy?
Once again, the Bayrou factor could be significant. And again, the question is, Is this a vote of adherence, or a "ni-ni" option?
And one non-factor: the NPA seems to have disappeared with Philippe Poutou as its candidate. Olivier Besancenot had put the party on the map, but Mélenchon's dynamism, combined with Poutou's media-shyness, seems to have erased it as an electoral force.