PARIS Independent Emmanuel Macron will easily beat far-right leader Marine Le Pen in a runoff in the French presidential election, but the outcome of a knockout between her and conservative Francois Fillon would be closer than before, a poll showed on Monday.
The Opinionway poll showed Le Pen would get 42 percent of votes compared to 58 percent for Fillon if the scandal-hit Fillon made it through to the second round - Le Pen's highest second-round estimate by polls so far this year.
The rest of the poll had similar findings to previous surveys - with Le Pen coming out with the biggest number of votes in the April 23 first round, but then losing to either Macron or Fillon in the second round on May 7.
Le Pen had 26 percent in the first round, compared to 22 percent for Macron, and 21 percent for Fillon.
Macron, a centrist, would then be the likeliest candidate to take on Le Pen in the second round, with Macron expected to win with 63 percent of votes over 37 percent for Le Pen.
Fillon's campaign has been hit by probes into allegations of fake work carried out by Fillon's wife.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Richard Balmforth)