PARIS (Reuters) - Valerie Pecresse, who this weekend won the centre-right ticket for the 2022 election, earned a bounce in support and would give President Emmanuel Macron the closest challenge in an eventual run-off, a Harris Interactive opinion poll showed on Monday.
However, the survey showed Pecresse still lacked the backing to reach April's second round, underlining the challenge she faces galvanizing supporters of her fractured Les Republicains party in a crowded space on the political right.
The poll, conducted over the weekend when Pecresse won her party ticket and the campaign launch of far-right writer Eric Zemmour was marred in violence, saw the conservative climb three points to 14% voter support.
That left her level with Zemmour but still four points behind Marine Le Pen, leader of the traditional far-right Rassemblement National party, and further still behind centrist Macron who has yet to formally declare a re-election bid.
Pecresse, 54, who has described herself as '1/3 Thatcher 2/3 Merkel' can potentially appeal to the centre-right voters Macron depends on, but will have to seek support from more conservative voters also courted by the two far-right candidates.
Macron would best Pecresse by a 53%-47% in a head-to-head run-off, the poll projected. The president would beat Le Pen and Zemmour by the wider margins of 55%-45% and 62%-38% respectively.
(Reporting by Richard Lough; editing by Grant McCool)