Emmanuel Macron is poised to beat Marine Le Pen when French voters head to the polls in the second round of their country’s presidential election on Sunday.
Macron, a centrist, has a wide lead in public opinion polls over the the far-right Le Pen. Macron is a 39-year-old former banker with only a few years of government experience who’s mounting his first campaign as a politician.
His prospective victory, however, appears to pertain more to a desire by French voters to deny Le Pen the presidency rather than any strong enthusiasm for Macron.
According to polls published Friday afternoon, Macron has a 24-point lead over Le Pen, with support of 62 per cent of decided voters. Le Pen has the backing of 38 per cent.
If those numbers hold up on Sunday, it would amount to one of the widest gaps ever in the second round of a French presidential election — the exception being 2002, when Le Pen’s father, Jean-Marie Le Pen, lost by 64 points to Jacques Chirac.
The polls suggest Macron has successfully amassed support across the political spectrum from some of his first-round rivals. He appears to have won over voters from conservative François Fillon, from far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon and from centre-left Socialist candidate Benoît Hamon.
Both Fillon and Hamon endorsed Macron after their first-round defeats.
Le Pen, who has stepped down temporarily from her job as head of the nationalist, far-right and anti-immigrant Front National (FN), is only doing better than Macron among supporters of Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, a right-wing social conservative candidate who took 4.7 per cent of the vote last month.
But she’s also getting some support from backers of both Fillon and Mélenchon, bridging the gap between a business-friendly conservative and a…