French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Francois Hollande wrapped up their campaigns urging their supporters to turn out as the challenger’s lead narrowed.
The final daily tracking survey before the vote tomorrow showed Sarkozy narrowed Hollande’s lead to 52 percent to 48 percent, according to the pollster Ifop. No margin of error was provided. Five polls published the past two days indicated Sarkozy gaining after the May 2 televised debate.
“Even with the gap narrowing in the final campaign day, it will be very, very complicated for Sarkozy to win,” Leendert de Voogd, Brussels-based global head for politics at research firm TNS, said in an interview. “Never in the past eight presidential elections has a candidate been able to overturn the vote in the last three days. There is one chance out of 10 to see a Sarkozy victory.”
Nicolas Sarkozy and his supporters laid into the country’s media claiming journalists were in “alliance” with Socialist front-runner François Hollande, insisting the conservative could still win France’s presidential election.
The media blame game came as two fresh polls suggested Mr Hollandewas heading for victory but that the gap had narrowed slightly, with voting intentions for Mr Hollande five to six percentage points ahead.
However British cabinet minister Iain Duncan Smith waded into the election battle, warning that the economic policies of Mr Hollande would “have a shock wave effect on Europe” if he becomes president. Britain would be “badly affected” if France’s economy was saddled with more debt and deficit due to his tax-and-spend policies, he forecast, while they could cause “major ructions” with Germany.
Mr Hollande has pledged to add a growth chapter to a German-led fiscal discipline pact – a proposal that has gained traction among various European leaders facing austerity and recession. But the German government said that “the fear of Hollande is receding at the Chancellery”.
Mr Duncan Smith’s warning echoed that of Mr Sarkozy, who on Friday said: “I don’t think anyone wants France to be in the situation that Spain is in today, after seven years of Socialist government.”
“Look at Spain,” he said. “Do you want the same situation? The issue isn’t to frighten. The issue is to look across our border” where unemployment recently hit almost 24.5 per cent.