France’s Le Pen Could Top First Round of 2022 Elections: Poll

French President Emmanuel Macron and far-right National Rally Leader Marine Le Pen would take the two top spots in the first round of voting if presidential elections were held this Sunday, according to an Ifop-Fiducial poll published by Le Journal du Dimanche.

The 42-year-old president and Le Pen are neck and neck in the survey, with other politicians far behind, 18 months ahead of the 2022 elections, the poll showed. Macron would get 23%-26% of votes in the first round, versus 24%-27% for Le Pen, according to the survey.

Le Pen “could emerge as the winner in the first round of presidential elections,” Frederic Dabi, Ifop’s deputy general director, was cited as saying in Le Journal du Dimanche.

The approval ratings of Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex have dropped inrecent weeks, as the government struggles to contain a renewed surge in coronavirus cases while trying to avoid a second nationwide lockdown. Protests erupted last month in Marseille, France’s second-biggest city, after the government’s decision to close bars and restaurants for at least two weeks. The number of new coronavirus cases in France reacheda record on Saturday, with Paris also facing thepossibility of stricter Covid-19 rules as of Monday.

The Ifop-Fiducial poll surveyed 1,608 adults via the internet from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1, according to the newspaper.

A separate poll by Elabe for the BFM TV channel, also published Sunday, showed that 73% of French people are worried about the renewed coronavirus spread, and respondents are still divided over the government’s decision to shut down Marseille restaurants and bars as well as gyms in 11 cities.

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