Majority of Russians back Marine Le Pen in French election, finds poll

Tom Batchelor
France goes to the polls for the second round of voting to choose a new president on Sunday: Reuters

A majority of Russians say they would back far-right candidate Marine Le Pen over her centrist rival Emmanuel Macron in the forthcoming French presidential election, according to a poll.

Sixty-one per cent of respondents said they would vote for the former Front National candidate, while just eight per cent expressed support for the former economy minister and frontrunner in this Sunday’s runoff.

A quarter (26 per cent) of Russians polled said they were not in favour of anyone in the presidential race.

The survey by Russian pollster VCIOM showed 57 per cent of people believed the forthcoming election would have significant consequences for Russia.

A third (35 per cent) said the result of Sunday’s vote was not important.

Valery Fedorov, VCIOM’s director, said: “The most vital issue is what policy towards Russia will the next French president carry out.

“In this context, the overwhelming majority of Russian respondents’ sympathies lie with Marine Le Pen, which is becoming clear given that she explicitly calls for overcoming the current conflict between Moscow and the West, and normalising ties with Russia.”

The telephone survey of 1,200 Russians, carried out between 25-26 April, follows a poll by the same firm which found high levels of support for Donald Trump in the days before the US election.

In the November 2016 survey, 45 per cent of Russians asked about the presidential election said they would have voted for Mr Trump, while only four per cent said they would have backed Hillary Clinton. Forty-two per cent said they would not have voted at all.

Opinion polls conducted in France point show a commanding lead for Mr Macron, who stands on 59 per cent to Ms Le Pen 41 per cent in the latest survey published on Tuesday.

It comes as Mr Macron named Russian President Vladimir Putin as one of autocratic leaders allied to Ms Le Pen.

“We all know who Le Pen’s allies are: [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán, Putin,” he said.

“These aren’t regimes with an open and free democracy.”