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Macron loses ground to Le Pen ahead of French elections

Kamil Zihnioglu / AP

A new analysis from Charles Lichfield at Eurasia Group gives centrist Emmanuel Macron just a 55% chance of defeating right-wing populist Marine Le Pen in the second round matchup of the French presidential election. But he'll still have to fend off a challenge from both embattled center-right François Fillon and surging left-wing Jean-Luc Mélechon in next Sunday's first round.

Macron's problem: His centrist position has alienated him from both the center-right and left in recent weeks — too left-wing for the right and too patronizing for the left — making it possible that he could lose voters to Le Pen and face a low-turnout scenario if voters choose to stay home.

Sound smarter: Even with Macron's dip, it's a good bet that anti-Le Pen sentiment will coalesce into support for her second round opponent — no matter who that might be. After all, at this point, Lichfield still gives the edge to Macron, Fillon, and Mélechon over Le Pen in the runoff.