Polls give hope to both rivals for presidency

9th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Oct 9, 2006 (AFP) - Two opinion polls published Monday gave hope to both the frontrunners in France's approaching presidential election, the rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy and the socialist Ségolène Royal.

PARIS, Oct 9, 2006 (AFP) - Two opinion polls published Monday gave hope to both the frontrunners in France's approaching presidential election, the rightwinger Nicolas Sarkozy and the socialist Ségolène Royal.

Sarkozy, 51, has established a commanding lead over Royal, 53, for the first — multi-candidate — round of the election, with 38 percent to 29.5 percent of preferences, according to a Sofres survey for Le Figaro newspaper.

This represented a leap of two points for Sarkozy since September and a fall of 4.5 points for Royal.

However a CSA poll for Le Parisien showed that when asked the question, "Which personality would you prefer as president?", 49 percent of those polled chose Royal compared to just 39 percent for Sarkozy.

April's election takes place over two rounds — assuming no candidate reaches 50 percent of the vote in round one — with the two leading contenders qualifying for the run-off.

Royal is favourite to win the Socialist party (PDS) nomination for the presidency in a vote of party members next month. Sarkozy hopes to be designated the candidate of the ruling Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) in January.

According to the Sofres survey, while Royal still has a clear lead over her two rivals for the PS nomination, former finance minister Dominique Strauss-Kahn and former prime minister Laurent Fabius, the poll showed her advantage shrinking.

She was still considered the most able to respond to France's problems, however, except on the economy — where Strauss-Kahn fared better — and foreign policy, where the two were neck and neck.

However, the poll also showed that Sarkozy would fare even better with either of the two representing the Socialists — with 39 percent of first round votes compared to 20 for Strauss-Kahn and 15 for Fabius.

With Royal and Sarkozy both standing, however, the far-right National Front leader Jean-Marie Le Pen would poll third, with 9.5 of first round voting intentions.

The poll of 1,000 people was carried out on October 4-5 by the TNS/Sofres/Unilog institutes, and released on LCI television and RTL radio.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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