Centrist Emmanuel Macron has pulled ahead of right-wing populist Marine Le Pen in a snap poll following a fiery TV debate Wednesday night.
More than 60 per cent of viewers found Mr. Macron more convincing than Ms. Le Pen in the debate, according to an opinion poll by Elabe for BFMTV.
Around 34 per cent, meanwhile, said the arguments of Ms. Le Pen were more persuasive.
The former Front National leader has defied post-debate polls in the past, however.
In a survey by the same company after last month’s debate with all the first round candidates, Ms. Le Pen received the smallest share of support for her vision for France, coming behind “anti-capitalist” Jean-Luc Melénchon and scandal-hit conservative François Fillon.
Ms. Le Pen went on to convincingly defeat both candidates in the first round of voting.
Last night’s debate was notably acrimonious, with both candidates deploying personal insults and attacks.
Ms. Le Pen slammed the European Union (EU) and branded her competitor a “darling of the system”.
She also said: “You need to show a little less arrogance before the election. It seems to me that you try to treat them as children.”
Mr. Macron, meanwhile, said his rival was a “parasite” and “liar” who risked throwing the nation into civil war.