Forty-six percent of people polled said Le Pen is “the face of patriotic conservatives, with traditional values,” while 43 percent said she heads the “nationalistic, xenophobic extreme right,” the Sofres survey showed.
Marine Le Pen, 45, is the daughter of the party’s founder, Jean-Marie Le Pen. The National Front advocates exiting the euro, cracking down on illegal immigrants, capping legal migrants and greater integration of Muslims.
Thirty-four percent of the respondents in the poll said they support the National Front’s ideas and 59 percent said they didn’t. The party’s support has increased by 12 percentage points since Marine Le Pen took over the helm from her father in 2011.
“The head of the National Front has managed to create a normal image of herself” acceptable to the mainstream, TNS-Sofres director general Edouard Lecerf wrote in an analysis of the poll.
Sofres interviewed 1,061 people face to face between Jan. 31 and Feb. 3. The survey is a yearly poll conducted since 1984.
Polls in November showed the National Front as the country’s most popular party ahead of the May European Parliament elections.
To contact the reporter on this story: Helene Fouquet in Paris at firstname.lastname@example.org