Far-right Le Pen now second most-liked French politician, poll shows

FILE PHOTO: Marine Le Pen, French National Front political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, smiles before voting in the second round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont
FILE PHOTO: Marine Le Pen, French National Front (FN) political party candidate for French 2017 presidential election, smiles before voting in the second round of 2017 French presidential election at a polling station in Henin-Beaumont, France, May 7, 2017. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

March 31, 2022

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s veteran far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen is the second most-liked politician in the country, according to a poll on Thursday which came 10 days ahead of the first round of voting.

According to the Elabe poll for Les Echos newspaper and Radio Classique, 35% of those polled said they had a “good image” of Le Pen. In 2017, when she lost to Emmanuel Macron in the presidential election’s runoff, the figure stood at 32%.

Le Pen has overtaken former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the poll, who came in third with 33% of positive opinions. She still lags, however, former Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who scored 44%.

The Elabe poll did not test the popularity of President Emmanuel Macron nor that of his Prime Minister Jean Castex.

In 2017, 46% of those polled by Elabe had a “very poor image” of Le Pen, who is gearing up for her third presidential bid, against 34% now.

Le Pen has softened her image since 2017, ditching unpopular plans to drop the euro, tweeting about her passion for cats, and on one occasion taking selfies with a veiled Muslim girl.

Although polls showed Macron received a boost in voting intentions after Russia waged war on Ukraine, he is now falling back as Le Pen gains ground.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon ; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)