Centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron extended his lead in the polls over his far-right rival Marine Le Pen on Friday, the final day of campaigning in the run-off election taking place Sunday.
The election is seen as the most important in France for decades, with two diametrically opposed views of Europe and France’s place in the world at stake.
The National Front’s Le Pen would close borders and quit the euro currency, while independent Macron, who has never held elected office, wants closer European cooperation and an open economy.
The candidates of France’s two mainstream parties, which have alternated in power for decades, were both eliminated in the first round of voting on April 23.
An Ifop-Fiducial survey on Friday afternoon, hours before official campaigning closed at midnight, showed Macron on course to win 63 percent of votes in the second round and Le Pen 37 percent, the best score for Macron recorded by a major polling organization since mid-April.
Four other polls earlier in the day put the centrist on 62 percent and Le Pen on 38 percent, and a fifth showed Macron on 61.5 percent, as his second-round campaign gained ground following a stuttering start last week.
Pollsters said Macron had been boosted by his performance in a rancorous final televised debate between the two contenders on Wednesday, which the centrist was judged by French viewers to have won, according to two surveys.
Macron’s strong showing in the debate, and another poll this week showing his En Marche! (Onwards!) movement likely to emerge as the biggest party in June legislative elections, have lifted the mood among investors worried about the upheaval a Le Pen victory could cause.
The gap between French and German 10-year government borrowing costs hit a new six-month low on Friday.
European shares eased after a week of gains that were partly driven by easing political worries in France.