PARIS (Reuters) - IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is likely to face far-right leader Marine Le Pen in the second round of France's presidential election next year, a poll said on Wednesday.
The survey is the second in as many weeks to indicate that President Nicolas Sarkozy would be edged out of the running before a second round of voting in France's two-stage presidential election in April and May 2012.
If Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is selected to stand for the Socialists, he would win 33 percent of the vote in the first round ahead of Le Pen with 19 percent and Sarkozy with 18 percent, according to a poll by Ipsos Logica for the daily Le Monde and radio Europe 1.
Le Pen is setting alarm bells ringing among mainstream French parties after a poll suggested for the first time last week that she could beat Sarkozy and top Socialists in the first round, including Strauss-Kahn.
Le Pen took over the National Front's leadership in January from her father, Jean Marie, who beat prime minister Lionel Jospin in the first round of the 2002 presidential election. He lost in the second round to Jacques Chirac.
With approval ratings at close to record lows, Sarkozy has not said whether he will run for re-election although his party and Prime Minister Francois Fillon have said that he would be the natural choice to be the conservatives' candidate.
The Ipsos Logica poll was carried out on March 14 among a sample of 948 people over the age of 18.
(Reporting by Leigh Thomas; Editing by Michael Roddy)