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Polls give France to Hollande, but by narrow margin

President Nicolas Sarkozy's chances of clinging to power were fading two days before France's election runoff after far-right and centrist leaders deserted him, despite polls putting Socialist Francois Hollande's lead at its narrowest so far.

world Updated: May 04, 2012 23:59 IST

The final polls before France’s presidential election Sunday show President Nicolas Sarkozy making up ground on Socialist challenger Francois Hollande — but still predict a Hollande victory.

Polls released Friday and Thursday show the gap between the candidates shrinking but results still solidly in Hollande’s favor. A poll by the BVA agency showed 52.5% support for Hollande and 47.5% for Sarkozy. A poll by the CSA agency showed 53% for Hollande and 47% for Sarkozy.

Sarkozy, disliked by many voters for his handling of the economy, promised he could come out victorious on Sunday. But he also sounded increasingly prepared for possible defeat.

“The nation follows its course. The nation is stronger than the destiny of the men who serve it,” he said. “The fact that the campaign is ending is more of a relief than a worry.”

Sarkozy has vowed to quit politics if he loses the presidency, but one of his closest advisers hinted he is privately leaving the door open to rekindling his political career in opposition.

“If he is defeated but scores as much as 48-48.5%, with governments everywhere being thrown out by the economic crisis, that would be no disgrace,” said Alain Minc, a longtime friend and advise.

First Published: May 04, 2012 16:12 IST