French election polls: who is leading the race to be the next president of France?

By Seán Clarke and Angelique Chrisafis

Emmanuel Macron and the far-right hopeful Marine Le Pen look set to be joined by numerous other candidates in the French presidential election. We look at the latest polling, and introduce some of the most likely candidates

France will vote to elect a new president in April, and the jostling for position among potential candidates is well under way. The current president, Emmanuel Macron, has yet to declare his candidacy but is expected to run again. His second-round opponent from 2017, the far-right populist Marine Le Pen, has already launched her campaign. Alongside them on the ballot will be Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist candidate, Yannick Jadot, representing the Green movement, and a candidate from the centre-right, to be chosen by Les Républicains, on 4 December. The far-right TV pundit Éric Zemmour, who has no political party, could declare an outsider bid.

How the process works

How the process to choose a candidate works

Would-be candidates have until 4 March to present the 500 signatures of elected officials supporting their run, which the law requires. Some of the politicians hoping to be candidates will by then have withdrawn from the field, but in 2017 11 candidates were on the official ballot.

A first round is to be held on 10 April, and in the likely event that no candidate receives a majority of the votes, a second round runoff will be held two weeks later, featuring the two leading candidates from the first round.

Polls have shown that the most likely candidates to enter the run-off are Macron and Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) party.

Who might stand, and how do the polls rate their chances?

The slate also includes numerous other possible runners, most of whom usually fail to poll more than 3% in surveys. They include former Socialist Arnaud Montebourg, Fabien Roussel of the Communist party, Jean Lasalle of the Resistons! (Resist!) party and Nathalie Arthaud of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers' Struggle).

France's polling organisations also ask respondents how they would vote in a hypothetical second round. For obvious reasons they concentrate on what currently seems the most likely scenario, a re-run of 2017's Macron-Le Pen vote.

  1. This is the core scenario, and therefore the one most commonly polled. Macron's lead over Le Pen is greater in second-round polling than in responses on first-round choices. In 2017 he inherited over 70% of the other first-round candidate's votes.