Poll: Hollande’s lead over Sarkozy narrows

By Kate Gibson, MarketWatch


Francois Hollande, Socialist Party candidate in the 2012 French presidential election.

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — French President Nicolas Sarkozy has gained against Francois Hollande, but the challenger remains in the lead, according to published accounts of final polls ahead of Sunday’s election.

The last daily tracking survey ahead of the vote had Hollande leading Sarkozy 52% to 48%, according to survey-taker Ifop, Bloomberg reported. Sarkozy has picked up momentum since a televised debate on Wednesday.

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Still, Leendert de Voogd, the Brussels-based global head for politics at research firm TNS, told Bloomberg he would give Sarkozy one in 10 odds of fending off Hollande.

“Never in the past eight presidential elections has a candidate been able to overturn the vote in the last three days,” the researcher said.

The Socialist Hollande has vowed to try to curb a German-led austerity move across Europe, stressing growth instead to revive the recession-stricken euro zone.

Conservative Sarkozy, the first French president in modern times to come in second in a presidential first-round vote, is trying to retain his post in a country with a near 10% unemployment rate and a national debt at a record level.

“I am nervous, anxious for victory,” Hollande told Reuters Saturday while visiting a market in Tulle, a central French town where he was mayor.

Sarkozy planned to spend the day at home with his wife, Carla Bruni, Reuters said.

Sunday’s election in France coincides with parliamentary elections in Greece.

Read about investors’ take on elections in France and Greece.

Kate Gibson is a reporter for MarketWatch, based in New York.

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