France's Sarkozy may not make 2012 runoff

PARIS Mon May 9, 2011 6:59am BST

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy waves to bystanders as he leaves the citadel of Port-Louis, western France, following armistice ceremonies commemorating the end of World War II, May 8, 2011. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy waves to bystanders as he leaves the citadel of Port-Louis, western France, following armistice ceremonies commemorating the end of World War II, May 8, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy would not make it to the run-off of the 2012 presidential election if he faced potential Socialist candidate Dominique Strauss-Kahn in the first round, an opinion poll said Sunday.

International Monetary Fund boss Strauss-Kahn, who has yet to say whether he will run, would draw 23 percent of votes in the first round against 17 percent for far-right leader Marine Le Pen and 16 percent for Sarkozy, according to pollster LH2.

But Sarkozy would get into the second round against any other Socialist candidate, coming second after Francois Hollande or Martine Aubry, and first against Segolene Royal -- who ran against him in the 2007 presidential election.

If the Socialists picked Royal as their candidate for the May 2012 vote, she would lose to Sarkozy and Le Pen in the first round with 15 percent of the votes against 20 percent and 17 percent, respectively, for her opponents.

Should Sarkozy make it to the second round, he would lose with only 35 percent of the votes against Strauss-Kahn, 44 percent against Aubry and 40 percent against Hollande, while he would be a draw with Royal, the survey found.

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 he would be a natural choice. The poll was carried out by telephone on May 6 and 7 among a sample of 970 people over the age of 18.

(Reporting by Marie Maitre; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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