|Date: 02/05/2012 Time: 11:42:00 AM
Socialist challenger Francois Hollande was given as
the victor over incumbent Nicolas Sarkozy in the latest presidential election
poll Wednesday only hours ahead of a crucial, televised debate between the two
men later in the evening.
The poll by BVA for the regional press and "RTL" radio credited Hollande
with 53.5 percent and Sarkozy with 46.5 percent in next Sunday's ballot.
But the BVA polls showed progress for President Sarkozy, who gained ground
compared with a similar poll a week ago.
His gains are attributed to the extreme-right voters who represent 18
percent of the electorate but who are now switching to the conservative
Sarkozy as opposed to the Socialist Hollande.
Extreme-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen, who has been eliminated
from the contest, said on Sunday that she would not support either candidate
and would spoil her vote on May 6, but a significant proportion of her
supporters are expected to vote for Sarkozy. While this may not be enough to
win him the election, the result could much closer than forecast before the
first round on April 22, when some pollsters even saw Sarkozy not qualifying
for the run-off ballot.