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Macron could beat Le Pen in French election - poll

A new poll f French voter intentions showed Emmanuel Macron still likely to defeat candidate Marine Le Pen in the May presidential run-off.

FILE: French Front National far-right party's President and presidential candidate for the 2017 election Marine Le Pen. Picture: AFP.

A new poll of French voter intentions on Saturday showed Emmanuel Macron solidifying his support and still likely to defeat candidate Marine Le Pen in the May presidential run-off.

The BVA poll, published 43 days before the 23 April opening round, showed the independent centrist Macron scoring 26%, up 2 percentage points from a week earlier and five points in the last 15 days. He is now level with the far-right Le Pen.

Both remain well ahead of conservative Francois Fillon, who is up 1 point to 20%, and appears to have stabilised after his support fell amid a scandal-tainted campaign.

That would send the two leaders into a 7 May playoff at the expense of all other round-one contenders, including Fillon, who was initially the consistent frontrunner as candidate of The Republicans.

As in all other polls to date, the poll showed Le Pen losing the run-off, in this case with 39% of the vote versus 61% for Macron.

The survey of 1,419 people also saw Macron, an ex-banker who is campaigning on a promise of a break from traditional left-right politics, also strengthening his core vote.

Among his supporters, some 56% are now certain to vote for him, up from 49% a week earlier. That is still well below Le Pen, whose backers are 83% sure of voting for her.