Le Pen Seen Ahead in First Round of French Election, Losing Second

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen is seen well ahead in the  first round of the presidential election but losing the second round by a wide margin to independent centrist Emmanuel Macron, an opinion poll showed on Thursday.

The monthly Cevipof survey for Le Monde newspaper has a much larger sample than most French election polls, with over 15,000 people surveyed.

It shows Le Pen with 27 percent of votes in the first round, up one percentage point from last month, with Macron stable at 23 percent and conservative Francois Fillon actually gaining one point to 19.5 percent despite the financial scandal he is embroiled in.

Macron is seen beating Le Pen in the runoff by 62 percent versus 38 percent. Were he to qualify for the second round instead of Macron, Fillon would still beat Le Pen but by a smaller margin of 55 percent versus 45 percent.

Most of the survey was carried out March 1 to 5, with an update with a sample of 1,000 people on March 6 and 7 to take into account that Fillon faced down a rebellion in his camp to be confirmed as candidate.

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