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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.

Go deeper

1 hour ago - World

Iran agrees to resume Vienna nuclear talks in November

Ali Bagheri (R) with Enrique Mora in Tehran on Oct. 14. Photo: Iranian Foreign Ministry handout via Getty

Iran's new chief nuclear negotiator said following a meeting in Brussels on Wednesday that Iran would resume negotiations in Vienna before the end of November, with the exact date to be set next week.

Why it matters: The Vienna talks have been frozen since Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, was elected in June. This is the most direct commitment from Raisi's government to return to the negotiating table.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Democrats' billionaires tax explained

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There is now legislative language behind the push to tax American billionaires on unrealized capital gains, as Sen. Ron Wyden last night released his 107-page plan.

Why it matters: This would be a sea change in U.S. tax policy, which has only applied to realized gains (otherwise known as income).

COP26 head warns Glasgow summit will be "harder than Paris"

Alok Sharma, U.K. COP26 president, in Milan on Sept. 30, 2021. Photo: Stefano Guidi/Getty Images

U.K. COP26 President Alok Sharma told reporters Tuesday that the upcoming talks in Glasgow, widely viewed as the last chance to avoid some of the worst consequences of global warming, will be extremely difficult.

Driving the news: Sharma sought to temper expectations and note that the agenda features some of the toughest items that negotiators have punted on at previous summits.