Romina McGuinness, Express, January 30, 2017
The Front National chief is set receive more than a quarter of the vote, ahead of Thatcher admirer François Fillon, who is on 22 per cent, and former economy minister Emmanuel Macron, who is on 21 per cent, the Kantar Sofres one-point poll revealed.
Benoît Hamon, a staunch Socialist and the surprise winner of Sunday’s left-wing primary, is set to win 15 per cent of the first-round presidential vote.
But despite being guaranteed a place in the second round of the election Mrs Le Pen is set to lose the presidential race to one of her two rivals.
According to the poll, published by Le Figaro, hop against Mr Fillon, the Front National chief would get 40 per cent of the vote while Mr Fillon would win 60 per cent.
And against Mr Macron, Mrs Le Pen would win 35 per cent of the vote while the left’s “rising star” would take 65 per cent.
Under the unlikely scenario of a showdown between Mr Fillon and Mr Macron, the rebellious socialist will win the presidential race with 58 per cent of the total vote.
The poll, which was carried out between January 26 and 27, shows that the recent scandal involving Mr Fillon and his wife, Penelope, put a dent in the former presidential favourite’s approval ratings, but boosted Mrs Le Pen’s campaign.
Last week, a press report accusing Mr Fillon of employing his wife as a parliamentary assistant on a large salary without doing any work cast a dark shadow over the right-wing candidate.
Director general of Kantar Public, Emmanuel Rivière, told Le Figaro: “Mr Fillon’s popularity has indeed declined since the scandal broke and he is no longer guaranteed a place in the second round run-off.”
Mr Rivière, however, said that Mr Fillon’s popularity had dropped “long before” ‘Penelope Gate’ because right-wing voters are “no longer convinced” that his project will help get France back on its feet.
He added that French voters felt “torn” between Mrs Le Pen and Mr Fillon, who denies the allegations, but that they would eventually settle for the “lesser of two evils”.