At the beginning of December polls showed that Nicolas Sarkozy was beating Socialist Segolene Royal 51% to 49%, but today new polls released show an exact reversal, with Segolene leading with 51% and Sarkozy with 49%. National Front candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen has fallen far below his high watermark of 17% with only 9% in the first round polls. Francois Bayrou is still polling a steady 8%. Both Royal and Sarkozy should be relieved to see Le Pen's numbers in such decline, for that would dampen any chances he might have of slipping into the runoff. Nothing much should be read into the second round numbers, because they are likely to continue to hover around 50% for the Socialist and UMP candidates until the general election really gets underway. In fact, a poll taken just two days earlier by IPSOS shows Sarkozy and Royal dead even.
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