Sarkozy Narrows Gap With Hollande as Election Campaign Starts, Poll Shows

France’s Nicolas Sarkozy narrowed his gap with Socialist opponent Francois Hollande a week after kicking off his presidential election campaign, a poll showed.

With less than two months before the ballot, Sarkozy lags behind Hollande by 4.5 points in voting intentions, down from a seven-point gap a week earlier, according to an Ipsos SA poll for Le Monde and France Televisions published today.

The survey is the latest to show Sarkozy picking up support, particularly in the first leg of the two-round contest, while still trailing the leading candidate for the second ballot by more than any other sitting president under France’s current constitution. France’s presidential elections will be held on April 22 and May 6.

Sarkozy now has the support of about 27 percent of voters for the first round, compared with about 31.5 percent for Hollande, according to Ipsos. For the second round, about 42 percent of voters back him, against 58 percent for Hollande.

Ipsos interviewed 959 voters by telephone on Feb. 24 and 25.

To contact the reporter on this story: Mark Deen in Paris at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Vidya Root in Paris at

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