Macron opens up 22-point lead over Le Pen in French opinion poll

Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election (Rex)
Emmanuel Macron will face Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election (Rex)

Emmanuel Macron looks set to inflict a heavy defeat on the far-right Marine Le Pen in the French presidential election, according to a new poll.

The independent centrist, who despite running without a traditional party now has the backing of the French political class, narrowly beat the National Front leader in the first round of voting.

However, a new poll, run by OpinonWay, has him at 61 per cent of the vote, compared to Le Pen, who is on 39 per cent, with most analysts predicting a comfortable win on May 7.

The result of first-round voting was major rejection of traditional French political parties.

Le Pen, whose father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, a notorious figure in French politics, led the anti-immigration party from 1972 to 2011, is better known than Macron, a former banker who has enjoyed a meteoric rise.

Both candidates have promised to shake up French politics, and have both dismissed the old divisions of the political left and right.

“There is no consensus in the two key political parties on all these issues,” Mr Macron has said, describing the traditional spectrum as “irrelevant”. “My country needs a new political offer.”

Le Pen has argued that the new battle line is drawn between “globalists and patriots”. She added that “the French have been dispossessed of their patriotism.”

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Le Pen, who is anti-EU and anti-immigration, last night launched a withering attack on the pro-EU Macron, whose progress has been welcomed by politicians across Europe.

The latest Opinionway poll
The latest Opinionway poll

Describing him as an “hysterical, radical Europeanist”, she accused Macron of being weak on terror.

Le Pen said of Macron: “He is for total open borders. He says there is no such thing as French culture. There is not one area where he shows one ounce of patriotism.”

The outgoing president, François Hollande, said he would vote for Macron, his former economy minister, because Le Pen represented “both the danger of the isolation of France and of rupture with the EU”.

He said a far-right president would “deeply divide France”.

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