May 5, 2017 / 4:06 AM / 5 months ago

A quarter of French electorate to abstain in election runoff - poll

A woman walks past official posters of candidates for the 2017 French presidential election Marine Le Pen of French National Front (FN) political party (R) and Emmanuel Macron, head of the political movement En Marche !, or Onwards !, (L) in Cambrai, France, May 4, 2017. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

PARIS (Reuters) - A quarter of the French electorate is due to abstain in the presidential runoff on Sunday, many of them left-wing voters disappointed after their candidates missed reaching the runoff, according to a poll by Odoxa.

The projected abstention rate would be the second-worst for a presidential election runoff since 1965, underscoring the disillusionment of many voters at the choice between centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen.

The turnout rate for the first round of the election was close to 78 percent, according to the interior ministry.

The poll for franceinfo, released on Friday, showed 69 percent of abstaining voters will do so reluctantly, refusing to chose between Macron and Le Pen. Many voted for the more leftist candidates eliminated in the first round of voting on April 23.

A third of the supporters of defeated far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Melenchon, who placed fourth in the first round, said they were evenly opposed to both Macron and Le Pen, according to the poll.

It also showed that voters found Macron more convincing than Le Pen in the acrimonious televised debate on Wednesday evening, confirming the general impression conveyed in earlier polls and reinforcing Macron’s status as the favourite to win on Sunday

The Odoxa poll was carried out online on Thursday among 998 people.

Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain; Editing by Tom Heneghan

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