PARIS (BLOOMBERG) - President Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen would run neck and neck in the first round of a French presidential election if the voting took place today, a poll for the Journal du Dimanche newspaper found.
But in a second round, the incumbent would trounce Ms Le Pen, the poll found, showing essentially that she has gained support from 2017 but would still lose badly.
The poll presented scenarios involving three different centre-right candidates: Mr Xavier Bertrand, the head of the Hauts de France region in the country's north, Ms Valerie Pecresse, the president of the Ile de France region around Paris, and Mr Francois Baroin, a former government minister who heads the Association of French Mayors.
In each case, Ms Le Pen would have 28 per cent of the vote, the poll for the Sunday newspaper found. President Macron would get 27 per cent of the vote against Mr Bertrand and Mr Baroin and 28 per cent against Ms Pecresse. In every scenario, Ms Le Pen and Mr Macron would be the top two in the multi-candidate fields.
The poll found that Mr Macron would win a second-round faceoff with Ms Le Pen by 55 per cent to 45 per cent.
Mr Macron was elected in 2017 to a five-year term, so the next presidential election occurs in the spring of 2022. In the French system, the top two candidates in the first round advance to a second round.
Of the three potential centre-right candidates, Mr Bertrand would get 10 per cent in a first round, Ms Pecresse would get 7 per cent and Mr Baroin would score 11 per cent, the poll found.
Ifop surveyed 1,396 people on behalf of the Journal du Dimanche newspaper from Oct 29 to 30.