Poll gives France's new far-right leader top spot

AP News
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Posted: Mar 06, 2011 8:24 AM
Poll gives France's new far-right leader top spot

A poll shows that Marine Le Pen, the daughter of France's longtime far-right leader who now heads his National Front party, would gain more votes than President Nicolas Sarkozy if elections were held this weekend.

The online poll of 1,618 people by Harris Interactive shows Le Pen with 23 percent of the vote and both the conservative Sarkozy and Socialist leader Martine Aubry with 21 percent.

The poll results are so close that Le Pen's lead is statistically insignificant, but they serve as a red flag for Sarkozy ahead of April 2012 presidential elections. No margin of error was provided, but it would normally be plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Sarkozy has long trod on the National Front's territory with policies to strictly control immigration and a national identity debate. A debate on secularism is planned.