7 February 2017, 12:45 GMT
MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Fillon has dropped from third to 18th place in popularity, while National Front leader Marine Le Pen is down 1 point to 28 percent support, and independent candidate Emmanuel Macron has over 40 percent support, a survey by Elabe pollster for Les Echos showed on Thursday.
French Socialist Party (PS) candidate Benoit Hamon is in the second place with 37 percent support, the poll revealed.
A fraud scandal involving Fillon arose on January 25, when the satirical weekly magazine Le Canard Enchaine reported that Fillon’s wife had been paid up to $8,500 for working as her husband's parliamentary aide and received a $5,400 monthly salary at the prestigious cultural magazine La Revue des Deux Mondes, which is owned by Fillon's friend Marc Ladreit de Lacharriere.
The first round of the French presidential elections is slated for April 23, with the run-off scheduled for May 7.