Voting intentions remain stable ahead of French presidential runoff: polls
PARIS, May 4 (Xinhua) -- Voting intentions have remained stable for the two contenders standing for the French presidency in a decisive second round of elections on May 7, according to surveys conducted by French pollsters.
The latest poll released on Thursday by the French Institute of Public Opinion (Ifop) shows that 61 percent of votes will go to centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron, and 40 percent to far-rightist Marine Le Pen, consistent with the poll conducted on April 24, the day after the first round of the presidential election, which indicated 60 and 40 percent for Macron and Le Pen, respectively.
Another pollster, OpinionWay-SLPV, released a poll with identical figures on Thursday. It also estimates that if elected, Macron's new party En Marche (On the Move) will win between 249 to 286 seats, a stunning majority, in the parliamentary elections in June.
The two candidates held an intense and aggressive debate on television Wednesday evening. A poll conducted by research firm Elabe showed that 63 percent of the viewers considered Macron more convincing, while Le Pen won the support of 34 percent.
All the major polls indicate that it is seemingly unlikely for Le Pen to reverse the trajectory of the presidential race in the coming days.
"This trend was already similar before the first round and is maintained according to the latest opinion polls we have carried out," said Jerome Fourquet, director of Ifop's department of opinion and business strategy at a press conference on Wednesday.
The Ifop poll also indicates that more supporters of the other two frontrunners, conservative Francois Fillon and far-leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon, will cast their votes for Macron in the second round.
Fifty percent of Melenchon supporters say they will vote for Macron, a figure that has remained stable since April 24, and 13 percent say they will vote for Le Pen, down from 19 percent on April 24, while 37 percent will not vote or cast a blank vote, the latest survey indicates.
Meanwhile, 44 percent of Fillon supporters will vote for Macron, 30 percent for Le Pen and 26 percent will abstain from voting, it says.
Among Melenchon supporters, those under 35 are especially mobilized to vote for Macron, which is a big advantage for the 39-year-old centrist candidate, according to the poll.