Are the executives of the National Rally (RN) too pessimistic? None of them, behind the scenes, would have bet that Jordan Bardella, president of the party and head of the list for the European elections, had won his duel against Prime Minister Gabriel Attal, Thursday evening on France 2. They had understood that their champion, the man with the punchlines, rarely put in difficulty, had conceded, at the very least, “a draw” against his alter ego.

“It’s difficult to face the Prime Minister,” explained a close friend of Marine Le Pen, before adding: “He has many advisors, many services who send him notes, sheets.” “Matignon, it’s a control tower, you see everything, you know everything,” said another to better analyze what had happened the day before. “It’s something to work on,” assured a third. “Gabriel Attal is a very good debater,” said another, who found qualities in the man hated by RN voters. So we had to be lucid. “This time, Jordan Bardella found something stronger than him,” said one of his relatives.

There were a few happy ones all the same. “What matters is that Jordan debated with a prime minister. That settles it. The French will remember all this,” pointed out a member of Marine Le Pen’s campaign. And others who regretted that the president of the RN had failed to be able to respond on the favorite themes of the nationalist party: national priority and immigration. “On the national priority, and in the face of Gabriel Attal’s speech, he could have cited the figures of the French trade balance,” explained an executive.

Jordan Bardella had therefore shown shortcomings. But all the RN executives ultimately minimized this debate, which they had ardently requested for months. It must also have been a personal moment for the heir of marineism, in whom many place hope. Isn’t he the future prime minister of Marine Le Pen, if she came to power in 2027? And therefore replace… Gabriel Attal?

But that was all before. Before an Odoxa survey comes to give balm to the hearts of the lieutenants of Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella. In this survey, relayed on all social networks by all possible RN accounts, 63% of French people surveyed, who watched the debate from start to finish, judged Jordan Bardella better than Gabriel Attal. Only 36% gave the point to the Prime Minister who took to the arena to defend his head of the list, Valérie Hayer. Blessed bread for the RN executives, relieved that the elements of language relayed on the evening of the debate were “confirmed” by this survey.

In the meantime, Marine Le Pen and Jordan Bardella had already written their respective speeches and brought together their voters (4,000 according to the RN) in Hénin-Beaumont (Pas-de-Calais), for a meeting in the heart of the electoral stronghold of the ” natural candidate” of the RN for 2027. These speeches were to transform the draw into a resounding victory for Marinism over Macronism. It was mostly self-satisfaction. Jordan Bardella and Marine Le Pen were only too happy to repeat the match with Gabriel Attal.

“Very simple question: who can claim that France in 2024 is in better shape than in 2017?”, launched Marine Le Pen in a 20-minute speech, before her foal. Unsurprisingly, she castigated Emmanuel Macron’s security and economic record. And to attack the Prime Minister: “These disastrous results have not pushed Gabriel Attal to modesty. Self-criticism is not part of their world.” “The arsonist Macron sent the firefighter Attal to save the soldier Hayer,” she mocked. Before ending with a vibrant: “More than ever dear Jordan, we are united behind you”.

On stage, Jordan Bardella launched into an explanation of his television performance: “I faced last night, trying to defend the truth, the first liar in France, Gabriel Attal (…) I counted: Gabriel Attal cut me off every 13 seconds. His only obsession: the RN, the RN, the RN and at the end of the show… the RN. “There are those who talk about the RN and those who talk about France, those who defend dogmas and those who defend people,” he said to the cheers of “Jordan, we love you”.

Marine Le Pen’s heir can in any case be satisfied with one thing: his list is measured at 33% voting intentions in our daily Ifop-Fiducial poll, compared to 16% for the Renaissance list. The two figures of the RN did not forget to launch a “call for mobilization” of their voters 16 days before the election. This was also the whole point of the debate against Gabriel Attal.