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Socialists ride high in new poll

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Socialists ride high in new poll
08:52 CEST+02:00

Newly-elected Socialist party candidate François Hollande will be cheered by two new polls that predict a clear victory over Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's presidential elections.

A survey by polling organization Ifop for Paris-Match, published on Tuesday, said that 59 percent of people hope to see the left win in the elections planned for April and May 2012.

With six months to go until the first round of voting on April 22nd, the poll shows the Socialists are in a much stronger position than they were at the same point before the last election in 2007.

"In October 2006, six months before the presidential election when Nicolas Sarkozy beat Ségolène Royal, the number hoping for a victory of the left (49 percent) was much lower than today," said Ifop in a statement.

In the French system, voters have a wide choice of candidates (12 in 2007) in a first round of voting. The two leading candidates then go to a second round run-off two weeks later. Voting will take place on April 22nd and May 6th 2012.

A separate poll by CSA for newspaper 20 Minutes on Wednesday gave François Hollande a second round score of 62 percent against Nicolas Sarkozy on 38 percent. 

"Since we started these polls in January, we've never seen a Socialist candidate with such a high score," said Jérôme Sainte-Marie of CSA.

President Sarkozy is yet to announce he will stand in the election. The 20 Minutes poll found that 39 percent of his UMP party supporters would prefer him to be the party's candidate over his potential rivals, prime minister François Fillon (27 percent) and foreign minister Alain Juppé (25 percent).

Other candidates who have already declared they will run include Marine Le Pen of the Front National, Eva Joly for the Greens, Jean-Luc Mélenchon for the left-wing Front de Gauche and Philippe Poutou for the anti-capitalist party.

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