Sarkozy's appeal to right-wing voters provides poll boost

 

Nicolas Sarkozy's sharp right turn in the presidential election campaign appeared to draw blood yesterday when a poll suggested that he had taken a narrow first-round lead over his Socialist challenger.

However, Mr Sarkozy's first taste of victory was short-lived. Hours after the first poll by Ifop was published, it was the Socialist camp's turn to cheer as a TNS-Sofres survey showed François Hollande widening his first round lead over Mr Sarkozy to four points.

Although the Ifop poll still showed Mr Hollande cantering to victory in the second round on 6 May, it forecast that Mr Sarkozy had regained enough support from the hard right to seize a narrow lead in voting intentions in the first round on 22 April. In both surveys, Mr Hollande was predicted to win the two-candidate second round on 6 May by a landslide.

Both polls were taken on Monday, following President Sarkozy's rally near Paris on Sunday in which he placed hard right themes at the heart of his re-election campaign. The first poll was hailed by his campaign advisors as a vindication of his populist gamble, which in recent weeks has hijacked far right issues such as restrictions on halal meat. The second poll was claimed by Socialist campaign sources as proof that Mr Sarkozy's strategy had failed.

Any hopes in Mr Sarkozy's camp that the far right candidate, Marine Le Pen, might be forced out of the race on a technicality, were dispelled yesterday. Ms Le Pen announced that she had gathered the 500 endorsements she needs to reach the first round ballot paper on 22 April.

Another shadow also threatens Mr Sarkozy's reviving campaign. He reacted furiously when he was asked on live television on Monday night about a report that he had received €50m (£42m) in illegal campaign funding from the former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in 2007.

Mr Sarkozy described the report, which appeared on a left-wing investigative website, as "grotesque". But he may face awkward questions in coming days about two trips he made to Libya as a minister in 2005 as part of French negotiations to sell sophisticated spying equipment.

The Socialist challenger, Mr Hollande, has led in every poll for the first and second rounds of the election since he was selected by an open primary last October. Yesterday, an Ifop poll put Mr Sarkozy ahead in the first round with 28.5 per cent of the vote. Mr Hollande was slightly down at 27 per cent. Ms Le Pen fell back to 16 per cent. But in the two-candidate run-off the Ifop poll suggested Mr Hollande would beat Mr Sarkozy 55.5 per cent to 45.5 per cent.

The survey of 1,600 voters was taken after Mr Sarkozy's rally at Villepinte, north of Paris, on Sunday. In his hour-long speech to 40,000 activists, the President extended his populist rhetoric of recent weeks by threatening to pull out of the Schengen border-free area unless greater national control over immigration was restored within 12 months.

In late afternoon, the TNS-Sofres poll put Mr Hollande at 30 per cent in the first round and Mr Sarkozy at 26 per cent. In the second round, it estimated thee gap between them at 16 points - 58 per cent to 42 per cent.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager - Software & Services

£35000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Product Marketing Manager...

Recruitment Genius: Exhibition Sales Executive - OTE £35,000

£16000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding B2B exhibition and...

Recruitment Genius: QA Technician

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading manufacturer of re...

Recruitment Genius: Office Administrator

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to expansion, an experienced and hig...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat