Pollsters baffled by France race
FRANCE — The fourcandidate battle to reach the runoff in France’s presidential election is putting pollsters to the test as never before.
With just a few days to go before Sunday’s first round of voting, every poll for the past month has shown independent Emmanuel Macron and the National Front’s Marine Le Pen taking the top two spots. Mr. Macron would then easily win the May 7 runoff, polls show. Yet both front-runners have been steadily slipping over the past two weeks, and Republican Francois Fillon and Communist-backed Jean-Luc Melenchon are now within striking distance.
It’s a challenge for French pollsters, who have a near-perfect record in forecasting the vote share for the top five finishers in the first rounds in 2007 and 2012 and the subsequent runoffs.
The difference for this year’s first round is that the top four candidates are within a range of fewer than 4 percentage points. Given margins of error that are typically between 2.5 points and 3 points, the race is tighter than it might initially appear.
China defends trademarks
BEIJING — China is defending its handling of trademark applications from President Donald Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her company, saying that all such requests are handled fairly.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Lu Kang was asked about the trademarks Wednesday, a day after The Associated Press reported that Ivanka Trump had won provisional approval for at least five marks since her father’s January inauguration. Three of those approvals were granted April 6, the day Ivanka Trump and her husband sat next to Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife for dinner at Trump’s Mar-aLago resort in Florida.
Mr. Lu said that China follows the law in granting trademarks and “the principle of giving equal protection to foreign trademark holders.”
UK approves election
LONDON — British voters will be heading to polling stations for the third time since 2015, after lawmakers overwhelmingly backed Prime Minister Theresa May’s call for a snap election on June 8.
The parliamentary election comes less than a year after Britain voted to leave the European Union, and will likely be dominated by the political and economic upheaval spawned by Brexit.
Ms. May, who took office in July after an internal Conservative Party leadership race, wants the election to increase her majority in Parliament and consolidate her power.
Lawmakers voted Wednesday by a resounding 522 to 13 to back Ms. May’s call for an election, easily surpassing the two-thirds majority in the 650-seat House of Commons needed to trigger an early vote.
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