Sarkozy takes poll lead over presidential rival Hollande

Paris, Mar.14: French President Nicolas Sarkozy has edged ahead of his Socialist Party rival Fran‡ois Hollande for the first time since the beginning of the presidential election campaign.

According to a poll carried out by Ifop Fiducial on March 11 and 12, 28.5 percent of potential voters said they would chose Sarkozy if elections were held this week, while 27 percent said they would pick Hollande.

The president gained 1.5 percentage points since the previous poll held between Feb. 23 and Feb. 27, while Hollande lost 1.5 percentage points.

Voting intentions for far-right candidate Marine Le Pen fell by one percentage point to 16 percent, while centrist candidate Fran‡ois Bayrou gained 0.5 percentage point to 13 percent.

The pollster surveyed a sample of 1,638 people aged 18 and older on the Internet and by telephone.

If no candidate reaches 50 percent of the votes during the election in late April, a run-off will be held in early May between the two leading candidates.

In the case of a runoff, 54.5 percent of potential voters would pick Hollande, while 45.5 percent would pick Sarkozy, the poll showed. (ANI)