Emmanuel Macron, a pro-European and one of the favorites to win France’s upcoming presidential election, performed best in the first debate among the five contenders, according to a survey of debate watchers released in the early hours of Tuesday.
Some 29 percent of those surveyed found Mr. Macron, a 39-year old independent candidate, to be the most convincing of the five rivals, the poll held directly after Monday’s debate showed. That beat far-right contender Marine Le Pen and the conservative François Fillon, the two who are considered most likely to challenge Mr. Macron in the presidential race.
Mr. Macron was followed by the far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who has been trailing in election polls but surprised with 20-percent approval in the debate. That put him just ahead of Mr. Fillon and Ms. Le Pen, who tied with 19 percent, according to the polling agency Elabe, which conducted the poll for French broadcaster BFM TV.
Mr. Macron’s performance and the poll results were a relief to financial markets, sending up the euro against the U.S. dollar and boosting French banking stocks and government bonds.