Socialist Hollande seen winning French presidency: poll

Reuters News
Posted: Oct 17, 2011 1:15 PM
Socialist Hollande seen winning French presidency: poll

PARIS (Reuters) - Most French voters think Socialist Francois Hollande would beat conservative President Nicolas Sarkozy in an election run-off next year, a poll on Monday showed, 24 hours after he won the nomination as the opposition party's candidate.

The survey by pollsters Harris Interactive found that 60 percent of those questioned thought Hollande would win if he went head-to-head with Sarkozy, with 14 percent saying they were sure of the outcome.

The first round of France's presidential election is scheduled for April 22. If no candidate wins a majority, a run-off between the leading two will take place on May 6.

The survey of 1,206 people was conducted online from October 16 to October 17, hours after Hollande won the decisive second round of a primary election to represent the Socialists in next year's vote, beating rival and party secretary Martine Aubry.

Were he to unseat Sarkozy, he would become the first Socialist to hold the presidency since the late Francois Mitterrand left office in 1995.

The self-styled "normal" candidate Hollande struck a chord with voters in the final days of his campaign for the Socialist candidacy, promising to crack down on banks and put an end to financial market excess.

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The party's manifesto also proposes scrapping some 50 billion euros of tax breaks and other concessions made by Sarkozy. Half the proceeds would go toward proactive policies for jobs and growth, and half to reducing the public deficit.

Sarkozy has not yet said for certain whether he will run for re-election, but is widely expected to seek a second five-year term.

(Reporting By Vicky Buffery; editing by Daniel Flynn and Paul Taylor)