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
  • 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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living