Poll sees Zemmour making it to second round of French presidential vote

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FILE PHOTO: French far-right commentator Eric Zemmour in Beziers
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PARIS (Reuters) - A new poll sees French right-wing pundit Eric Zemmour making it to the second round of the presidential election in April along with President Emmanuel Macron, confirming earlier polls that saw Zemmour overtaking far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The chat show star, who has been convicted for inciting hatred, has dominated the French airwaves in recent months with provocative comments about Islam, immigrants and women.

An Ifop-Fiducial poll for newspaper Le Figaro and TV station LCI, published by BFM TV, showed Zemmour would win 17% of the first-round vote, well behind Macron with 25% but just ahead of Le Pen on 16%, with conservative Xavier Bertrand garnering 13% support if he wins the primary for the Les Republicains party.

Zemmour and Macron have not yet said whether they will run.

For more than a year, polls have shown Rassemblement National party leader Marine Le Pen easily making it into the second round, setting her up for a repeat of the 2017 election, when she won 21.3% of the votes in round one but lost to Macron's 66.1% in round two.

But last month two polls showed Zemmour jumping into second place for the first time ahead of Le Pen, whose RN party has dominated the French far-right for decades.

An Oct. 6 Harris Interactive poll showed the talk-show host winning 17% in round one, up four points on a late September poll and ahead of Le Pen's 15%. An Oct. 22 poll by Ipsos Sopra Steria also put Zemmour in the run-off vote, with 16-16.5% in round one vs 15-16% for Le Pen.

In his latest round of controversial remarks, Zemmour said in an interview with BFM on Sunday that women earned less than men because they chose low-paying professions.

While he has not officially declared that he will run for the presidency, he told BFM that an organisation had been set up that is preparing a possible bid.

"Everything is ready. All I have to do is decide and push the button. I decide when and how," he said.

(Reporting by GV De Clercq; Editing by Edmund Blair and Hugh Lawson)

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