Macron-Fillon French Presidential Contest Seen Too Close to Call

  • Poll suggests National Front’s Le Pen would take first round
  • Kantar pollster Lecerf sees very volatile electorate

Republican candidate Francois Fillon and Emmanuel Macron are running neck-and-neck to survive the first round of France’s presidential election in a poll that suggests either of them would defeat the National Front’s Marine Le Pen in the run-off.

Le Pen leads in first-round voting intentions with about 25 percent support if the election were held now, compared with 22 percent for Fillon and 21 percent for Macron, a former economy minister running as an independent, according to the Kantar Sofres-OnePoint poll for Le Figaro, RTL and LCI.

Le Pen would be easily defeated in the second round, with Macron polling 65 percent to 35 percent and Fillon beating her by 60 percent to 40 percent. Should Macron and Fillon face each other in the run-off, the poll suggests Macron would win with 58 percent of the vote.

“What’s striking is how volatile the electorate is,” Kantar pollster Edouard Lecerf said on Europe 1 radio. “Fewer than one in two voters say they are sure to vote for the candidate they are currently supporting.”

No margin of error was given for the Jan. 26-27 poll of 1,032 eligible voters. The first round of voting for France’s next president is scheduled for April 23 and the second round is set for May 7.

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