PARIS Centrist French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron and far-right rival Marine Le Pen are tied on 25 percent of the first-round election vote, although Macron would go on to beat Le Pen in the second round, a Le Monde/Cevipof opinion poll said.
The poll, which surveyed 14,300 people between March 31 and April 2, one of the biggest samples among the many regular surveys, said Macron would beat Le Pen in the May 7 second-round vote by 61 percent to 39 percent.
Conservative candidate Francois Fillon, whose campaign has been hit by allegations that he paid his wife, a son and daughter hundreds of thousands of euros of public money for minimal work, would come third in the first-round.
That would eliminate him at that stage along with the other remaining candidates.
It said Fillon would get 17.5 percent of first-round votes, unchanged from the last poll in mid-March, while far-left candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon was seen getting 15 percent, up 3.5 points and ahead of Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon on 10 percent.
Voter certainty rose sharply compared with the previous survey, with 64 percent of those surveyed sure of their decision, up 5 points.
Le Pen voters were the most certain, with 82 percent sure of their choice, up 4 percentage points.
Fillon's certainty score was up 7 points at 75 percent, Macron's up 9 points to 61 percent, Melenchon's unchanged at 60 percent, and Hamon's up 5 points at 52 percent.
All 11 candidates were due to face each other in a televised debate on Tuesday evening.
(Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Andrew Callus; Editing by Adrian Croft)