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More than 80 per cent of French voters expect centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron to defeat Marine Le Pen in the presidential run-off vote next week, according to the first major opinion poll that questioned voters after his victory in the first round on Sunday.

Opinionway’s latest poll predicted Mr Macron would win 61 per cent of the vote in the May 7 run-off, with Ms Le Pen on 39 per cent. The results were based on questions to more than 2000 voters on Sunday and Monday.

Mr Macron came in slightly ahead of Ms Le Pen in the first round of the election, with 23.9 per cent of the vote compared to the far right leader’s 21.4 per cent. However, he is widely expected to secure a comfortable victory in the second round as supporters of the other unsuccessful candidates rally around him to prevent Ms Le Pen from winning.

The latest poll also highlighted the growing importance of security issues in the vote in the aftermath of last week’s terrorist attack in Paris. Forty-two per cent of respondents said “the fight against terrorism” will be an important factor in deciding their vote, up from 35 per cent last week to its highest level since the election campaign began.

Photo: AFP

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